Mata Hari A.K.A The Spy
The secret dossier on the Dutch spy “Mata Hari” has been published online today. The from Friesland originating Margaretha Zelle was executed for spying for the Germans in France during the First World War.
Mata Hari was a dancer, who lived for some time on the Leidsekade in Amsterdam. Then she went on an adventure through Europe and ended up in Paris. There she quickly mixed in in the social life of the upper classes. She was a courtesan, a very expensive lady who in exchange for companionship and certain services got maintained by men.
During the first World War she was at one point accused of being a German spy. No one knows why she was accused of being a german spy. The French writer Jean-Pierre Tubergue had sole access to the file years ago , but did very little with it. However, he suggested that Mata Hari was an informant.
Journalist Hanneke Boonstra discovered that French President Francois Hollande published thousands of documents on Zelle’s case last month. Not only these files were published but of other legal cases aswell, including the death row prisoners in the First World War. All documents are now on the site of the Mémoire des Hommes by the French Ministry of Defence.
Head held high
The documents have now been made public to show that the process of the military tribunal against Zelle suggested little substance. An appeal was flatly rejected.
Zelle shared the bed with many officers and diplomats in the beau monde. Some of the myths surrounding her person, a romantic sex symbol in those days, will disappear. The 1,295 pages will probably be used for further study or perhaps filming of her fate.
During her time in prison she slowly started to lose hope on getting out of prison. She believed that one of her acquaintances that she gained over the years could help her escape death. On the 15th of October, 1917, at 05:45 Zelle was taken to the shooting range of Vincennes. The fourth regiment of Zouaves performed from the fusillade. She held her head up high and her eyes on the men with the guns. She was 41 years old.