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Good Assassins

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8. Return of The Limping Lady (Season 2)

Virginia Hall’s prison cell in northeastern Spain was something out of a nightmare. Hall imagined the moment in which the Spanish police would hand her over to the Gestapo and their glee at having finally captured "The Limping Lady." Hall knew the Nazis wouldn’t risk letting her escape. They’d transfer her to a secret facility, interrogate her, torture her, and kill her. Or sometimes the Nazis kept their prisoners alive and attempted to leverage them against the Allies. Months of psychological torture would give way to more physical punishments. Dousing with freezing water. Electric shocks. Beatings and cutting. This was the way of the Nazis. Virginia's Hall's American nationality was maybe the one thing that could save her. In late 1942, Spain was still considered technically neutral in the war. The Spanish dictator Francisco Franco had offered Hitler Spain’s allegiance in return for aid in nation-building. There was a division of Spanish volunteers fighting for the German army, but Spain still remained reluctant and fickle.  Andrew Orr says, "Franco's regime is ideologically complex and people still fight over whether or not it was fascist or just really authoritarian and traditionalist. Regardless of how anyone's individual sees it, the regime was very friendly to Nazi Germany and especially fascist Italy because Italy and Germany had backed Franco in the civil war. So Spain tended politically to like the Axis powers a lot." But Virginia Hall’s capture by the Spanish was too big a threat to the British. Hall knew too much, and the Nazis could assume that the British would change battle strategy once the Special Operations Executive, Hall’s intelligence agency, discovered she’d been captured. Hall’s information would be useless to the Axis Powers, and so she was as good as dead.

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