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            Leon G. Turrou

            Biografie

            Leon George Turrou was born on 14 September, 1895 in Kobryn, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire), of French and Polish parents. His father had died six months before his birth and his mother passed away not long after. Turrou was eventually adopted by a well-to-do merchant and spent much of his youth living in Egypt, India, China, Japan and Australia. He attended schools in Berlin and London before moving to America at the age of eighteen. There his fluency in seven languages landed him a job as a translator at the New York Times.

            In 1916 Turrou joined the French Army and was soon sent to fight on Eastern Front. Wounded in an engagement with the Germans, Turrou was recuperating in Paris when he fell in love with a Polish girl who had lived in China. After the war the couple moved to China where Turrou found work as an administrator and became the father of two sons. Sometime later Turrou's wife Teresa and their two young sons, Edward and Victor (at the time Teresa may have been pregnant with Victor) traveled to Siberia to visit her family. Later, after his wife and children failed to return, Turrou was told that they had all been murdered during the chaos that followed the Russian Revolution.

            After the death of his family, Turrou returned to America and joined the US Marine Corps. While stationed in France he was assigned to accompany the American Relief Organization's mission to Moscow. There, he took the opportunity to travel to Siberia to investigate the disappearance of his family. Much to his surprise and relief he discovered that they were alive and well.

            On 13, July, 1923 Turrou returned with his family to America and started a business importing dehydrated mushrooms from Poland. After the venture collapsed he found employment as a postal clerk at the New York Post Office. Not long afterwards he became Postal Inspector and, because of his language skills, was put to work translating suspected obscene material from overseas.

            In 1928 an interview with FBI chief, J. Edgar Hoover, led to his appointment as an agent even though he lacked the normal qualifications required of most prospective FBI agents. Over the next decade Turrou would be involved in a shootout with "Pretty Boy" Floyd, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping investigation, the investigation of the Kansas City Union Station murders (in which an attempt was made on his life) and the investigation into the crash of the USS Akron (ZRS-4), a rigid helium-filled airship that crashed off the coast of New Jersey. But the case that brought him his most notoriety was his participation in the smashing of a Nazi spy ring in 1938. After the successful conclusion of the Nazi spy case, Turrou resigned from the FBI to write "Nazi Spies in America" (1938). Upon learning of Turrou's plan to write a book, Hoover rejected his resignation and fired him.

            During World War Two Turrou served on Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff as an intelligence officer and at the close of the war was instrumental in the rounding up of some 35,000 suspected Nazi war criminals. In 1945 Turrou was awarded the Bronze Star in recognition of his service to his country. Turrou's book, "Where My Shadow Falls" (1949), chronicles his experiences with the FBI and as a lieutenant colonel with the CID during the war. Turrou's son, Victor, served as a Second Lieutenant with the US Army 66th Bomber Squadron 44th Bomber Group. He was killed in action on 16 August, 1943 and interned at the American Military Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy, 38 miles south of Rome.

            In 1949 Turrou began working for billionaire Jean Paul Getty in matters pertaining to security. He spent most of the rest of his life living in Paris, France, where he became known as the unofficial "American Mayor" of Paris and served as commander of the Paris chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In 1976 he served as translator between Vietnamese officials and a private group of Americans in a fruitless attempt to ascertain the fate of USAF pilot Capt. Robert L. Tucci, who was shot down over Laos in 1969.

            Leon George Turrou died on 10 December, 1986, probably in Paris.

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