Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dancer Mata Hari was executed as a spy

It is the birthday of Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari (1876), who was convicted in a secret French military trial of espionage during World War I and executed by firing squad in 1917. She was accused of being a double agent for France and Germany, and the prosecutor proclaimed her the world's greatest woman spy, but recent scholarship suggests she was convicted on evidence as flimsy as her costumes and that she was far more successful as a risqué dancer and courtesan than as a spy. She had many military officers as lovers, she spoke four languages fluently, traveled alone throughout Europe, and had plenty of money, all factors that probably led to her arrest. She faced her executioners without a blindfold or being bound to a stake. A silent Mata Hari film was made in 1927, Greta Garbo starred as Mata Hari in a 1931 and Sylvia Kristel starred in a 1985 version.

1 comment:

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