Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Despina Storch - Weird War 1 Vamp and German spy

Despina Storch or Despina Davidovitch Storch born in 1895, was a Turkish woman who was alleged to be a spy for Germany and the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Storch was later immortalized as "Turkish Delight", "Turkish beauty", and a "modern Cleopatra" in spy literature.

Born in Istanbul, Despina married Frenchman Paul Storch when she was 17 years old. Though they later divorced, their former marriage created a peculiar situation due to Paul's service in the French army while his ex-wife was suspected of spying for France's enemies.

Several factors led American authorities to suspect that Madame Storch was a spy. She travelled the capitals of the world frequently changing her name: "In Paris, for instance, she was known as Madame Nezie; in Madrid and London as Madame Hesketh; in Rome as Madame Davidovitch; at the New York Biltmore, in New York, as Madame Despina, and at the Shoreham, in Washington, as the Baroness de Bellville."  That last name, "Baroness de Bellville", was used because she was accompanied almost everywhere by a mysterious Baron Henri de Beville (or de Bellville) in the last months before her arrest.

Despina Storch was a frequent guest at parties due to her remarkable beauty, a fluency in French and her dancing skill. At many parties she had no difficulty getting in contact with military officers who served for Allied forces and ambassadors of countries engaged in the war.

While in Madrid Despina Storch and the baron were noticed contacting German agents. After the couple became aware of the suspicions they quickly left Spain for Havana.

Later they made their way to the United States. They were accompanied by a German woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Charlotte Nix, and a man who purportedly was a French count named Robert de Claremont.

As soon as the "a curious quartet" arrived in the U.S. they were "placed under suspicion by the Department of Justice".

One factor that aroused the suspicions of the Department of Justice was that she lived a life of a very rich lady, paying $1,000 per month for her stay in a New York hotel. Mrs. Nix also received an unexplained loan of $3,000 from Count Bernstorff.

Authorities later seized a safe deposit box held for a Madame Storch in a New York bank. It was said to contain important correspondence, with notable people from around the world, some of which was coded.

At first the co-conspirators were not aware about the scrutiny that they were under, and the Turkish Beauty led a "butterfly existence". She frequented "social affairs", adding new and important admirers to the long list of her suitors.

When the scrutiny became known to Storch she attempted to send her trunks to Panama, but those were intercepted. Realizing the danger that they were in, the Baron and Storch obtained French passports and made plans to flee to Cuba.  After their plans became known to the Justice Department, all four were arrested on March 18, 1918 and sent to Ellis Island. The authorities tried to follow a suspicious money trail left by the four co-conspirators, but were not able to prove nor disprove that espionage had taken place. Eventually the Baron, Storch, and two others were deported from the U.S. as "undesirable".

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills:  Investigation d6, Knowledge (Dance) d6, Knowledge (Espionage) d8, Knowledge (French) d6, Knowledge (German) d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d8, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6

Cha: +4; Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 5; Sanity: 5

Hindrances: Anaemic, Pacifist

Edges: Attractive, Charismatic

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