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Mata Hari, the Dutch Spy who was executed by firing squad was born today in 1876.

Femme Fatale

Margaretha Geertruida Zelle was born in the Netherlands, was a “mail order” bride, a mistress, an exotic dancer, and a very crafty spy.

By 1905, she began to win fame as an exotic dancer, and she adopted the stage name Mata Hari.  She was a contemporary of Isadora Duncan.  Promiscuous, flirtatious, and openly flaunting her body, she captivated her audiences and was an overnight success from the debut of her act.

She also posed for nude pictures…pretty racy back in the early 1900s.

Naughty Nudie!

On 13 February 1917, Mata Hari was arrested in her room at the Hote Plaza Athenee in Paris. She was put on trial, accused of spying for Germany and consequently causing the deaths of at least 50,000 soldiers. She was found guilty and was executed by firing squad on 15 October 1917, at the age of 41.

Some reported that her dying words were, “A harlot yes, a traitor, never!”

No one in her family claimed her body, it was used for science and her head was embalmed and put in a museum.  It disappeared around 1954 and has never been found.

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