The depressive Madrid of the first 40 was also a Madrid of secrets and intrigues, spies with monocle and clandestine activities. Under its privileged geographical situation, holding the interests of Nazis and allies, stories of alternative diplomacy are hidden; Double side of the exclusive Embassy. This confectionery of the Paseo de la Castellana, which brought together aristocrats, ambassadors and intelligence agents around tea, pastries and surveillance, closed its doors 86 years later.
The distinguished and exclusive British appearance of the place, founded in 1931, colored the city’s leaden landscape. It was the obsession of Margarita Kearney Taylor, owner of the same, who from the beginning tried to turn the area into an approximation of the elegant neighborhoods of London, such as Mayfair or Belgravia. Then, with the outbreak of World War II, he strove to give refuge and departure to those fleeing from the German Gestapo and SS.
The confectionery, also converted into a restaurant, was named “Embassy” because of its proximity to several embassies, especially the British and German embassies, the latter located a few steps away, next to the “Friedenskirche” IBM building. Their interests converged on the exclusive premises, witnessing a tense and superficial calm.
The Nazi deployment, led by Paul Winzer, head of the Gestapo, and Hans Lazar, head of propaganda in Spain, increased control and pressure in the area with the connivance of Francisco Franco. Germany, in this sense, even came up with an invasion to satisfy its strategic pretensions in the conflict. Kearney Taylor, along with the British ambassador Sir Samuel Hoare, turned his place into a refuge to alleviate the persecution suffered by anyone who was against the interests of the Nazis.
Embassy’s basement, which housed an oven for confectionery cakes, housed thousands of undocumented immigrants who received food, attention, and some money. It is estimated that the British embassy spent more than 1,000 pounds a day to undertake such an undertaking, which was eventually interrupted by several closures of the premises. Marguerite’s mood, Irish of elegant but firm appearance, did not waver.
Regarding the Jews, Embassy was constituted as their salvation and opportunity of flight. Franco never undertook a policy of persecution against them, but anyone who entered illegally into Spain was subject to arrest and deportation. About 30,000 people were evacuated, despite the harassment of the German embassy.