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DUENAS, Maria

The Time in Between

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…in this strange, dazzling city, filled with color and contrast, where the dark faces of the Arabs with their djellabas and turbans mingled with those of European settlers and others fleeing their past in transit to a thousand other destinations, their suitcases filled with uncertain dreams.

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Tangiers, with its sea, its twelve international flags, and its striking vegetation of palms and eucalyptus, with Moorish alleyways and new avenues driven by impressive motorcars with CD license plates: corps diplomatique…where minarets and the scent of spices lived comfortably side by side with consulates, banks, frivolous foreign women in convertible cars, and the aroma of Virginia tobacco and duty-free Parisian perfumes.

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Night by night, I learned about Tetouan and its people: where they had come from and for what reasons. All those families in this alien land; who those ladies were that I sewed for; who had power, who had money; who did what, and why, and when and how…Félix…amused himself by looking for snippets of information to create their profiles: who they were, their families, where they were going, where they’d come from… I learned where they lived, what they did with their time, how wealthy they were, and where they were ranked in the local hierarchy.

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We’re trying to set up a network of underground collaborators in Madrid linked to the British secret services. Collaborators with no connection to political life, to the diplomatic service or the military. People who aren’t known, who under the appearance of a normal life can find out about things and then pass them on to the SOE…The Special Operations Executive. A new organization within the secret services that has just been created by Churchill…We thought that you could set up an atelier in Madrid and sew for the wives of the high-ranking Nazis.

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