Mata Hari

Secret Agent H21

mata-hari-nekkid Lady spy of World War I. While technically she was indeed a spy -- passing on information to the Germans -- she did not pass anything militarily useful or not already common knowledge. In a classic frame-up she was made out to be a much more important "spy" than the naive dancer she actually was.


7 Aug 1876 Margaretha Geertruida Zelle born to a Dutch businessman and Javanese mother, Leeuwarden, Netherlands.
11 Jul 1895 Marries Campbell MacLeod.
30 Jan 1896 Son, Norman John, born.
1905 In Paris, becomes an exotic dancer, assuming the name Mata Hari.
1906 Divorces MacLeod in Amsterdam.
1916 Has an affair with a German spymaster in Spain, Maj. Arnold Kalle, who sends a dispatch to Berlin (in a code he knew to be cracked by the Allies), that H21 proved extremely valuable. And thus, Mata Hari was framed.
4 Jan 1917 Returns to Paris.
13 Feb 1917 Arrested by the French for spying, Paris.
24 Jul 1917 Tried before a military court for being a spy. At one point, Mata Hari did admit she passed secrets (outdated, she claimed) to the Germans.
25 Jul 1917 Sentenced to death by firing squad.
15 Oct 1917 Dutch spy H21, also known as Mata Hari, is executed in Paris by a 12-man firing squad. The dancer, born Gertrude Zelle, had slept with a number of high-ranking military officers from around the world and passed secrets along to the German high command. After death, her body is given to the University of Paris medical school for dissection.
1931 Film Mata Hari, starring Greta Garbo.

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