WAS MAURICE TILLET A SPY?


The more I considered the evidence, the more I found it a real possibility Maurice Tillet, The professional wrestler known as The French Angel, may have been an intelligence agent.  

A boy, once very close to Maurice shared with me, the following, "AS, for almost 2 decades Maurice, Karl, Tony + Nate Franchini aided Intel...".  
**Karl is Karolis Pozella or Karl Pojello.
**Nate Fanchini is likely this man: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=101025439  

The idea that Maurice could have been involved in domestic or international espionage was a fascinating theory, that at first, I paid little attention.  Later, the more I dug, the more connections and evidence I found lending credence to this theory.
 
One connection of linking Maurice to known espionage agents was that Maurice acted in the 1935 French film called Princesse Tam Tame starring Josephine Baker.  Josephine Baker is a well-documented WW2 spy. Her Wikipedia page does a good job of explaining her work in espionage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Baker  
In 1937 Maurice moves from odd-jobs, and acting, to that of wrestling.  By 1940 Maurice and Karl board the Ocean Liner S.S. Rex leaving Genoa Italy, arriving in the United States Jan12th 1940.
On the manifest for this ship it details his last known permanent residence for Maurice having been Milan Italy. He also details that he obtained his Visa there in Milan Dec 22, 1939.
The oddity in this is that in all other documents and locations his last residence outside the U.S. is France, and not Italy. It is an incongruity found in his official documentation and makes a person consider he may have been hiding something.  

When Maurice arrives in the U.S. he is held by immigration for three days, Jan 12th 1940 - Jan 16th 1940.  He is given three meals a day.    
The reason for his detention was given as:
He did not have a CIV, Contract of International Carriage of Passengers by Rail (CIV) -  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIV_%28rail_travel%29   
They were also concerned that he was to become, Liable to become a Public Charge (LPC) -  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liable_to_become_a_Public_Charge_%28LPC%29    

These reasons never really sat well with me. Maurice was well-publicized as coming to the U.S. and had appeared in major magazines prior to his arrival. The likelihood he would become destitute and have to take care of himself is unlikely. 

On Jan. 24th 1940 he wrestles in Boston Gardens where Professor Carleton Coon, of Harvard Anthropology is in attendance. Carleton is a well know propaganda agent. The following spread in Life Magazine shows Carleton measuring Maurice. That's Carlton on the left. Best details on Carlton's work as an agent are here: https://mikemcclaughry.wordpress.com/the-reading-library/world-government/british-security-coordination-compendium-ii/   Seeing Carlton, a known propaganda agent, advertising Maurice in Life magazine seems to lend credence to the idea that Maurice may have been gathering intelligence for the allies.
MAY 1941, noted Red and White Sox catcher, and Coach, Mo Berg, mentions meeting and Maurice. 

"Prof. Moe Berg, 'the linguistic coach of the Red Sox, interviewed Maurice Tillet(The Angel) and reports that The Angel speaks the best French he's heard since he was in Paris several years ago.  Moreover, M. Tillet struck Bert as a cultured and educated gentleman, even if he is uglier than Tony Galento."

Moe Berg was well noted spy, and in researching him, his life sounds an awful lot like Maurice's. Moe, like Maurice, spoke many languages, never married, was known to be reclusive, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moe_Berg  
As a professional-wrestler, and as being the heavyweight champion Maurice wrestled all the best, and top contenders. On a number of occasions he wrestled a man named Joe Savoldi. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Savoldi  Joe was a well-known WW2 spy and wrestled Maurice a number of times his work as a spy. 
JUNE 17, 1940 INDIANAPOLIS
NOV 11, 1940 CHICAGO
JULY 21, 1941 SAN FRANCISCO
JULY 30, 1942 FRESNO
JULY 31, 1942 OAKLAND
SEPT 1, 1942 SAN DIEGO 
Joe is documented as being on special assignment for the government and is out of wrestling from April 1943 returning to wrestling in September 1944.  

This picture came to us via the Savoldi family and came with this detail - "...Jumping Joe told him that it was like wrestling a piece of stone when he was in the ring with Maurice. Heavy hands etc."
Maurice Tillet - The Angel and Jumping Joe Savoldi. 
 
All these connections, although a pattern, could all be summed up to circumstantial evidence, and connections made due to Maurice's celebrity status.  

Some additional detail, known by studying Maurice, supports the likelihood of his having been some kind of spy.

All of Maurice's personal life, including girlfriends and parentage seem to have been intentionally hidden from the press and the public.  Although I have been studying Maurice for years, I have yet to find the following:
1.  Any of his girlfriends - Although he mentions having one.
2.  Parents, or anyone that was family - Although he mentions his mother frequently. 
3.  Maurice never shows up in United States Census
4.  No personal connections prior to the U.S. show in his citizenship application, nor will.

Maurice say's in all official documents that he was born in St. Petersburg Russia.  Although from time to time he tells magazines/newspapers he was born in the Ural Mountains.
Maurice's story was dug into by Russian National TV channel 2, although the studio is in Moscow Russia, records relating to his birth could not be found.

There are newspaper articles that detail he served in the French Navy aboard the submarine, Requin, and the Battleships Richelieu, and Toulon.  The Requin is not a submarine name, but rather a submarine class.  
April 8th 1943 - The Lowell Sun:
"On many ships I served, including the battleship 'Richelieu', but at last, when my old France commissioned the newest and most, beautiful destroyer in the world, the Toulon, I am selected to have part of the deck and the gun as a petty officer."

The ships called Richeleau did not exist at the right times to have allowed Maurice to serve aboard that ship.  There is a port called Toulon where a number of ships were scuttled/sunk during WW2, but there is no ship called Toulon.  

I originally thought the writer just misheard Maurice, due to accent and tone, however in context of all the evidence, it is looking intentional.  It occurred to me that we have an overall lack of specificity in all personal details about Maurice. 

Please remember how the boy, close to Maurice said that Karl, Maurice's manager also provided intelligence.

This is what Karl said about himself,
"Besides having acted as athletic instructor in Chicago and several other cities, I was also athletic instructor of the 131 Infantry, U. S. Army for a year and a half."  

Karl Pojello wrote the following letter on January 7, 1931 to E.J. Harrison: "....
1923 found me in Japan where I met and defeated all Jap grapplers having a desire to test my ability on the mat. Right here I would like to mention the little tip you refer to in the book saying I would become a "topnotcher" if I could learn the art of Judo. Well Sir, I did learn this great Japanese art from a Jap instructor in China, prior to my trip to Japan. Said instructor took a liking to me and during the 18 months of scholarship under his strict orders, I discovered that my ability in the Japanese art of wrestling placed me in such position that I never lost confidence when later facing the best Jap stars of my weight in that country."

Later in life, Karl wrestled against a Judo master, Masato Tamura, supposedly to show the supremacy of the western over the eastern arts. Karl even talking a little smack about how Judo only has a few good moves. The match was performed in front of a referee, military officials, and some media and Karl was pretty well beat.

The Match between the two men was reported here: http://ejmas.com/jalt/2005jalt/jcsart_Svinth_1205.html As former Fife judoka Kenji Yaguchi recalled in 1997:
"I remember this one tournament. You had to take all comers in those days. It didn't matter how big they were. I took three or four guys down. Masato Tamura had a chance to take more down, but he didn't do it. He stopped right there. He had a lot of trophies, and he wanted me to get one. What a gentleman he was! Anyway, in 1943, Tamura was among the best judoka in the United States, and so, even though he weighed just 143 pounds, his selection as an opponent for the 205-pound Pojello was as reasonable and fair as local conditions allowed. [EN2] Nevertheless, anti-Japanese emotions were still running high in February 1943, and so, to minimize any public outcry, the match took place behind closed doors on February 22, 1943. Besides the participants, attendance was limited to Lt. Jim McMillan, US Navy, Capt. Dick Hyland, US Marine Corps, Lt. Ray Flaherty, US Navy, Avery Brundage (head of the US Olympic Committee), various sportswriters, and Harry Auspitz. Ted Tonneman (Gus Sonnenberg's personal referee) was the official. Pojello started the match as he expected, by slamming Tamura to the mat. But all of judo is in the falling, and once on the mat, Tamura applied a cross-hand choke to Pojello's collar. This caused the incautious older man to pass out after just 1 minute 20 seconds of wrestling. Upon recovering, Pojello leaped to his feet and demanded that the match continue. More cautious now, he proceeded to toss Tamura about the mat. But Tamura continued to fall well and always managed to avoid any entangling holds. After about five minutes of this, said a reporter for the Chicago Daily News afterwards. Pojello was wheezing like an old bellows. His nose was skinned. Masato was bleeding from cuts over both eyes suffered when his head banged into a radiator. But they continued for 14 minutes, first the Jap hitting the mat, and then Pojello....[Finally] Tonneman, wrestling arbiter, stepped between them. 'This has gone far enough,' he yelled. 'Nobody is getting any dough out of this. Let's call it quits. It's a draw.' The grinning Masato and the puffing Pojello, both willing to continue, abided by the referee's orders and shook hands. "

Nothing about this match feels right.  It seems much more likely, considering Karl's respect for Judo, that the fix was in, and the match was worked.   With Karl's previous service in being an athletic director for the U.S. army, and his reputation as world class wrestler, he would have been the perfect person to 'work' this match.  He could show how much value there was in Judo, to a public that would not have been able to accept the value of the Japanese martial arts

Found here: http://www.jjichicago.com/masato_article.jpg

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