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Mata Hari (1876-1917)Download nowEnlargeShow similar images

Title: Mata Hari (1876-1917)

Description: Dutch exotic dancer, infamous courtesan, and notorious German spy in WWI, Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida Zelle MacLeod; AKA: H-21; August 7, 1876-October 15, 1917). She was the most celebrated female spy in history, although she proved to be somewhat inept. Born in Holland, she married an army officer stationed in Java, but the union ended in 1904 (drunken abuse on his part, infidelity on hers) and, to make a living, she became an exotic dancer, employing Malayan dances and rituals, taking the name of Mata Hari ("Eye of the Morning"). She returned to Holland, then moved to Paris, but could find no work, becoming a common streetwalker, contracting many venereal diseases and the French physician, a Dr. Blizzard, who treated her, ironically became her adviser and mentor at Saint-Lazare Prison, where she was shot as a spy thirteen years later. She returned to Holland in 1905, borrowed money to buy and expensive Javanese wardrobe, and went back to Paris as Mata Hari, exotic dancer, getting a high-paid job at a top Paris nightclub operated by Emile Guimet. Her fame spread quickly as she traveled about Europe, and, at the outbreak of World War I, when she was performing in Berlin, was recruited into the German Secret Service. She had by then been carrying on an affair with German Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm, who had lavished money and expensive jewelry upon her. When Kaiser Wilhelm II objected to this liaison, Mata Hari became the mistress of Berlin Police Chief Traugott von Jagow, and it was he who enlisted her as a German spy. With money provided by German Intelligence, she returned to Paris and began affairs with many high-ranking diplomats and military leaders, extracting information from them and passing this on to her German spymasters. She also visited field hospitals, acting as a celebrated care-giver, and where she pumped information from wounded officers and passed this along to Jagow. She was identified as a German spy when French Intelligence officers intercepted and decoded a German message sent to Spain (one in which she was identified by her code name “H-21”). Enticed from Spain by a large payment for her courtesan services, Mata Hari returned to France where she was arrested and charged with espionage. Found guilty (prosecutors claimed she had through her spying caused the deaths of 50,000 French soldiers in various battles), she was condemned and shot to death by firing squad on October 15, 1917, reportedly refusing a blindfold and saying "Harlot, yes, traitor, never!" Some claimed that she blew a kiss to her firing squad, but that kiss was really blown to her attorney and lover, Edouard Clunet, who sadly witnessed her execution. It was later claimed that Mara Hari was innocent and had been railroaded to her death by French Intelligence officers wanting to protect the reputations of high-ranking French politicians, who had had sexual affairs with the woman, and whose spying activities most probably consisted of no more than conveying casual gossip, rumor and hearsay from her garrulous lovers to German spymasters. This beautiful and tragic woman was profiled in many films, but most magnificently by Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931).

Category: Intelligence

Keywords: Mata Hari, Crown Prince Frederick Wilhelm, Wilhelm II, Traugott von Jagow, French Intelligence, French Secret Service, German Intelligence, German Secret Service, espionage, spies, spying, firing squads, executions, capital punishment, courtesans, affairs, Edouard Clunet, Emile Guimet, Netherlands, Holland, France, Germany

Orientation: Portrait

Dimensions: 900 x 1548 (1.39 MPixels) (1.72)

Print Size: 7.6 x 13.1 cm; 3.0 x 5.2 inches

File Size: 4.02 MB (4,214,904 Bytes)

Resolution: 300 x 300 dpi

Color Depth: 16.7 million (24 BitsPerPixel)

Compression: None

Image Number: 0000004361

Source: Jay Robert Nash Collection

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