FAMOUS SPY NUMBER ONE
Spied For: Germany and Possibly France
In 1905 Margaretha Geertruida (Grietje) Zelle) divorced her husband, became an exotic dancer in Paris, and took the name Mata Hari which means the “Eye of the Dawn.” She pretended to be a princess from Java. She hung out with the upper class and became a courtesan to many important high-ranking military men and politicians. This allowed her to gather information.
During World War 1 the Netherlands (her nation of birth) remained a neutral country. As a Dutch citizen she could cross national borders freely. At one point, she admitted to British Intelligence she was a spy for the French. The French later denied this
In January, 1917, the German Military Attache in Madrid sent an encoded radio signal to Berlin, stating that they were receiving excellent information from a German spy codenamed H-21. French intelligence intercepted the messages and identified H-21 as Mata Hari. On February 13, 1917, she was arrested, tried for espionage and found guilty.
Mata Hari was executed by Firing Squad on September 15, 1917 at the age of 41.