spy "George Blake" was a Dutch-born
In his PBS interview he gives us
Blake: I come from rather an
international, or in other words, a
cosmopolitan background. My father was
a Spanish Jew who came from the Middle
East or the Near East. He fought in the
British Army during the First World War
and was very seriously wounded.
He received high decorations, the
Military Cross and the French.
Immediately after the war he was in
Holland, where he met my mother. Now my
mother came from a Dutch middle-class,
My father had a business in Holland
which wasn't very successful, and he
died in 1934, when I was twelve, from
the results of his wounds during the
war, and I got a Dutch Protestant
upbringing. Dutch is my native tongue.
After the death of my father, my mother
was left in rather strange
My father had a sister in Cairo, who
was a wife of a very rich banker. They
said they would take me and look after
my education, give me a good education,
and that would relieve my mother as I
also had two sisters.
At the age of thirteen I went to
Cairo, and lived with my uncle and
aunt, in a very large house, and there
I met my two cousins, who were ten
years older than I was. Both of them
had very decided left wing views; they
didn't want to succeed their father in
a banking business.
Especially the younger of my two
cousins who had a great influence on
me. He was, by that time, a Communist
and he talked a lot with me. Of course
his views had a great influence on me,
but I resisted them, because I was a
very religious boy.
It was my intention to become a
minister in the Dutch Reform Church,
but later on, in life, things changed.
Many of his views acted as a time bomb,
and the results under the affect of
events shaped my further