The blonde who captivated Cairo: Glamorous Nazi spy had romantic affairs with two British secret agents
Sophie Kukralova - codenamed R 37 49 by her German bosses - developed a 'most undesirable familiarity' with the two intelligence officers.
One already married agent offered to leave his wife and marry the blonde while the second threatened to blow her cover unless she slept with him.
Kukralova's arrival in Cairo in 1941 immediately aroused suspicion due to her inexplicable wealth, expensive taste in clothes, and her claims of high-level links to the Nazi regime.
She was arrested and interned.
While British intelligence said they had no definite proof she was spying for the Nazis, it said: 'With her cosmopolitan and unscrupulous character, her interest in espionage, her unusual knowledge of armaments and military affairs, Sophie would, if released, be a potential menace to security wherever she was.'
The file adds she 'acquired a most undesirable familiarity with British military personnel, including at least one NCO (non-commissioned officer) engaged on most secret work'.
A further note said: 'Her contacts and behaviour were generally suspicious and there seems to have been some scandal in Cairo in connection with a Bob Sewell of the Intelligence Corps and an unexplained individual named Flett who got drunk, tried to seduce her, and then threatened to have her arrested as a spy.'
Under interrogation Kukralova said she met a man in Cairo called Alfred Flett who said he was Norwegian, but she believed he was a German agent because he kept trying to get stories out of her.
One night Flett got very drunk and tried to come into her room at 1am. When she refused to let him, he became very angry and reportedly told her: 'I am a British Intelligence Officer. If you want to stay in Egypt you can, but if you won't do what I want I will have you arrested.'
Kukralova described Bob Sewell as a friend and admitted he asked her to marry him, but added: 'I told him I liked him and he was very nice, but he was married and married men to me were taboo. He said he loved his wife very much.'
Kukralova was born in Litomerice in the former Czechoslovakia in May 1911 to Georgian exiles, her MI5 file released by the National Archives shows.
She married a Czech man called Havel Hama Kukraloff in 1936. They lived in Prague and then London, where she was also employed in an arms factory, before divorcing in 1937.
She was jailed five times by the Germans before turning up in the Hungarian capital Budapest in 1941, where she befriended a London-born British engineer called Maxwell Clapham and his wife Josephine.
Kukralova persuaded the Claphams to adopt her in May 1941, although she did not get British nationality.
Later that year, she and Josephine Clapham left Budapest and travelled via Turkey and Syria to Cairo in Egypt, where they aroused 'considerable suspicion'.
German documents uncovered by UK intelligence after the war suggested that Kukralova was indeed a spy who had planned to get herself adopted by UK citizens to acquire a British passport so she could travel to Bombay to arrange contacts for another Nazi agent.
After she was released in 1946, MI5 expressed no objection when she applied to visit Britain in March 1951.
comments powered by Disqus
- How the Vikings Saved Europe and Got a Terrible Reputation
- Hard Hats On: Members of the Media Tour Exhibits under Construction at the National Museum of American History
- Shaman dancers, coolies and suffragettes: rare photos of 1900s Beijing discovered from Austrian archive
- England's King Richard III died painfully on battlefield
- 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard charged
- Pro-Israel groups going after federal support of Middle East Studies
- 100th Anniversary of Beard's 'An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution' commemorated
- University of Illinois Bigwig to Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien: Drop Dead
- 2 of 21 MacArthur Fellows for 2014 are historians
- Ken Burns electrifies Jon Stewart show