Krystyna Skarbek is considered to be the original Bond girl, since she was Ian Flemming’s inspiration for Bond girls. She was the daughter of highly respected Polish Jews and the wife of a Polish ambassador. When the war broke out she was in Ethiopia with her husband.
It didn’t take long for her to become involved in the war defense. She joined an offshoot of MI-6 whose intent was to sabotage the German war effort. MI-6 took advantage of Krystyna’s skill as a skier. With a backpack filled with anti-Nazi literature she skied into Poland delivering the information. Once in Poland she traveled around the country setting up underground resistance to the German occupation. Krystyna traveled in and out of Poland delivering resources to the resistance and carrying out messages.
On one of her trips back into Poland she was captured by the Gestapo. Having just gotten over the flu she played up her symptoms and bit her tongue so badly that she bled. However, she made it look like she tuberculous. She convinced them that she was gravely ill, even submitting to an x-ray (failing to mention that her lungs were already scarred from her previous adventures…oops). They were so scared of getting ill themselves that they let her go.
Reading Krystyna’s personal life during the war feels like you are reading the inspiration to Casablanca. As I mentioned earlier, Krystyna was married but through most of her adventures she carried on a love affair with Andrzej Kowerski, a.k.a. Andrew Kennedy. Her husband wanted her back but was shuffled around from one embassy to another while Krystyna and Andrew had their adventures which finally led them to Cairo. Except that when her husband finally made it to Cairo she didn’t leave for Canada with him. She stayed with Andrew.
Due to some ruffling of political feathers, Krystyna was grounded from any more work which was torture for an adrenaline junky such as her. She fought her way back and learned how to parachute. Parachuting into Europe and going into Italy to undermine the Nazi’s there.
Krystyna was an adventurous spirit and one of the many amazing women of World War II. For more books on women such as her check out these titles:
- All the Light We Cannot See
- The Nightingale
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
*As a side note, my personal life got in the way this weekend so I am playing a bit of catch up this week.*