25. Expelled From School, Then Expelled by the Nazis
Popov studied in England – where he got expelled from a prestigious prep school – and France. He then returned home to study law at the University of Belgrade. At age 22, soon after the Nazis assumed power, he went to Germany to get a Ph.D. There, he befriended a rich German student named Johnny Jebsen, who held anti-Nazi views. Until then, Popov had simply been a dilettante playboy, with no interest in politics. His time in Germany taught him to loathe the Nazis, and he developed strong political opinions against them.
Popov was indiscreet, however. In 1937, he was arrested by the Gestapo on suspicion of being a communist, and tossed into prison. His friend Jebsen came to his aid, alerting Popov’s father, who in turn got the Yugoslav government involved. After high-level contacts between Yugoslavia’s prime minister and Herman Goering, then head of the Gestapo, Popov was released from jail, but ordered expelled from Germany.