His Little Game

Andrew Boyle

  • The Blake Escape: How we freed George Blake – and why by Michael Randle and Pat Pottle
    Harrap, 298 pp, £12.95, April 1989, ISBN 0 245 54781 9

Blake’s father was Albert Behar, whose Sephardic Jewish family cut him off with less than the proverbial shilling because of his marriage to a Dutch Christian woman called Catherine Beijdedvellen. Behar Senior then became a British citizen, having served in the French Foreign Legion and the British Army. On his death in 1936 – a bad period not only in England but throughout Europe – he left a widow and the young George in somewhat reduced circumstances. The change of name from Behar to Blake was understandable enough. However, there were further complications which did not help the boy, then rising twelve: one of the Behar sisters had married a banker, Henri Curiel, who offered to look after him on one condition: that he stay with what was left of the family in Egypt. In the end, however, he went back to Rotterdam.

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