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Mata Hari
(1876 - 1917) Holland

Mata Hari

Dancer, spy

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Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle inhabited a stone house with her parents from 1883 to 1890. Mata Hari left home at 19 when she married a captain in the Royal Dutch East Indies Army and accompanied him to the former Dutch colony, now Indonesia.

Their relationship soured, and in 1903 she left him and went to Paris, where she began dancing in nightclubs and nude reviews as Mata Hari. She became known as the world famous dancer "Mata Hari" (which in Indonesian means "Eye of the Day"). She drew the attention of Paris with her dancing and love affairs.

It seems that Natalie Clifford Barney met, entertained, loved Mata Hari. She made at least two appearances as a hired entertainer at Natalie's home - once portraying a naked Godiva atop a white horse, and on another occasion performing a nude Javanese dance.

During World War I, she became involved with men in the most powerful circles with access to military secrets, and both the French and the Germans reportedly enlisted her as a spy. But the French army apparently grew suspicious and accused her of being a double agent for both the French and German army.

In 1917 a firing squad put a tragic end to her career, in the Paris suburb of Vincennes, after she had been sentenced to death by a French court.

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