30.12.16

Mata Hari dossier made public

Of the 7 Dutch nationals that got shot for being a spy Margaretha Zelle alias Mata Hari is de most famous. The other 6 were less colourful men. Ironically, Mata Hari was not really a spy. She was a loose woman with a weakness for men in uniform. She fell victim to an Allied phobia for femmes fatale who supposedly seduced their officers. This mindset explained why the French and their allies were losing from the Germans at that stage of the Great War. 

Recently the French Ministry of Defence has published their dossier on Mata Hari on the internet. At first glance it confirms the picture that evidence against Zelle was very thin and that she fell victim to the desire to make an example of her.

To understand how she got entangled into the dangerous world of espionage my book Spynest offers context, as during WW1 the neutral Netherlands was a hotbed of international espionage.