She was born 1908 in Warsaw and died in London at the age of 44. She was primarily known as Christine Granville. She also used other aliases: Pauline Armand and Krystyna Giżycka. Her father, Count Jerzy Skarbek, in order to save family fortune married Stefania Goldfeder from a family of wealthy Jewish bankers. Krystyna was raised in a Polish city of Trzebnica. During World War II she worked for British intelligence – Special Operations Executive (SOE). She was one of the longest-running agents. Winston Churchill called her his favorite scout. She was decorated with the Order of the British Empire and the French Cross of War. She is listed, next to King David, among the 13 most deserved Jews in the field of warfare.
Appreciated by many for her beauty, she even won the title of the Vice-Miss of Poland before the war. However, she was definitely ahead of her time in intellect and strength of character. She was independent, extremely brave and persuasive.
“More than once, she managed to outsmart the Gestapo, steal plans for a German invasion of the USSR, or save herself or others from oppression. She was not afraid to risk her life to make the world a better place.”
Apparently, Ian Fleming, creating the character of Vesper Lynd, James Bond’s beloved from the novel “Casino Royale” (1953) in the film version played by Eva Green, modeled her on Skarbek.
Clare Mulley – one of Skarbek’s biographers, in September 2020, at the unveiling of a blue plaque on the wall of 1 Lexham Gardens Hotel in London Kensington, where Skarbek lived after the war – said that she was more than a Bond girl. She was even more than James Bond himself because she was real.
“She was even more than James Bond himself because she was real.”
Demobilized after the war, she lived in poverty, left without financial reserves. Her death was also as spectacular as her life.
She was stabbed to death by her rejected lover.