Who was Mata Hari

Who was Mata Hari: history of the dancer


The figure of Mata Hari has been revived numerous times in the entertainment world. Starting with Madonna talking about her in the single “Like It or Not” to Quentin Tarantino who mentions her in “Inglourious Basterds”. We then discover the incredible story of this 20th century Dutch dancer and spy.

Who was Mata Hari

Mata Hari, born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle (Leeuwarden, 7 August 1876 – Vincennes, 15 October 1917), was a Dutch dancer and spy sentenced to death during the First World War. She grows up with siblings and parents who make her live one comfortable life in the center of the hometown. His life changes when the father’s business starts to get worse and worse to the point where he has to sell his business.

The economic difficulties also lead to a serious family crisis which ends with the separation of the parents.

She therefore begins a period at home with her mother which ends earlier than expected due to her unexpected death. She then moves to the godfather who offers her a good training as a kindergarten teacher but due to the harassment suffered by the director she is forced to move again, this time to an uncle’s house.

At 19 he manages to find a definitive roof when marries officer Rudolph Mac Leod moving to Amsterdam.

Mata Hari and success with dance

His life, however, turns out to be anything but happy because of the numerous quarrels with her husband, very jealous and with alcoholism problems. However, the family moved, following a promotion from the captain, to Indonesia and here Margaretha he is passionate about traditional dances local. Their peaceful stay is soon interrupted by the death of their son, poisoned by a medicine given to him by the maid. They try to move to a new base to get their minds away from that place, but nothing seems to bring them back to normal and they decide to go back to Holland.

Upon returning home the two decide to separate and the young woman decides to return to her uncle’s house briefly. From here he left for Paris, with the desire to embark on new life experiences, and began working in a circus as an Amazon. One day the owner of the business invites her to a party and here is Margaretha has the opportunity to exhibit the dance learned in Java she had fallen in love with so much.

Gets great success to the point that his performances become known throughout the city. Friends and acquaintances spread the news and even journalists began to write about her calling her the “Dancer from the East”. He performs in prestigious venues in the French capital, but also in the private homes of wealthy bourgeois, creating a fictional character that greatly fascinates the spectators.

Mata Hari and the project as a spy

The great success obtained led her to move to different cities including Berlin in 1914 where she had to interpret an Egyptian dance and prepare a show to be presented at the theater. However, his project was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War and his plans were forced to change. It comes in fact hired by a German consul as a spy in the service of Germany attracting not a little attention from the British and French counter-intelligence forces.

She meets Captain Georges Ladoux through a lover who offers her to join the service of French espionage. After a stay in Madrid, however, some complications begin and the young woman is arrested because she is confused with a suspected German spy flamenco dancer. The double game, as a spy for the French and for the Germans, however, leads her to be caught at a certain point and then arrested in Paris in 1917 and subsequently killed.

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