The Spy Who Helped Free France From the Nazis
Secretly in charge of one of North Africa’s largest spy rings, Słowikowski was buddies with Josephine Baker and prominent businessmen. The Nazis never suspected a thing.
In February 1942, few residents of Algiers, capital city of Vichy France’s North African colony of Algeria, were better regarded than Monsieur Sawikowski—nor so wrongly perceived.
The Polish exile-turned-businessman enjoyed great success in the midst of the Second World War. The 45-year-old émigré’s homeland had fallen to the Germans in September 1939. After almost two years in southern France, where he along with hundreds of thousands of other Polish exiles had fled, he moved with his wife and teenage son across the Mediterranean, leaving the worst of the war behind them.
Once there, he invested in and became commercial director of a barley oat-milling and -pressing factory called Floc-Av. Nutrition-starved Europeans ate up all the oatmeal the company could process, making it a sort of Quaker Oats for France, even winning supply contracts for French prisoners in German POW camps.