Mata Hari – bad dancer, bad spy

Seductive Mata Hari danced as badly as she spied, according to scientist Leon Shirman. After ten years of persistent searches in the government archives of France, Germany and the UK, the 80-year-old military court specialist handed over materials to the French Ministry of Justice to review the case of a military spy whose name is fanned by legend.

According to the historian, the exotic dancer, accused of espionage by the French authorities, loved the luxurious and frivolous life too much to be an ideal spy, and her shooting in 1917 was nothing more than an attempt by the French authorities to find a scapegoat. At the same time, Shirman does not refute the fact that the Dutch dancer and courtesan spied in favor of Germany. However, its activity was so ineffective that it simply did not deserve the death penalty, the historian is convinced.

The plaintiff in the case of Mata Hari, nee Margaret Gertrude Zelle, is the Dutch foundation and the hometown of the dancer Leeuwarden. According to preliminary data, the materials collected prove that in order to expose Mata Hari as a dangerous German spy, French officials have repeatedly resorted to falsification of evidence.

The facts persist in asserting that the fantastic spy dancer was in fact only a skilled temptress and adventurer.

Depressed from boredom in her native Holland, a month before her nineteenth birthday Margaret Gertrude marries a Dutch officer who is 21 years older than her and goes with him to Indonesia. From him she had a son, who soon died under mysterious circumstances, and a daughter.
In 1903, the couple separated, and the twenty-six-year-old Dutch woman came to Paris. Here she calls herself Mata Hari, which is translated from Malay means “Eye of the Dawn”, and begins her career as an exotic dancer. She tells reporters that she was born in Indonesia, and studied divine dances in Buddhist temples. However, in fact, she was the first real European stripper.

The fact that Mata Hari, who became a legend, danced rather mediocre, was written in due time by the French writer Colette. “She knew how to slowly take off her clothes, gradually exposing a slender and supple body. At her concerts, she was almost completely naked, moving languidly with her eyelashes lowered, and in the end hid behind transparent covers, ”he describes.

But despite the completely transparent tricks, the success of an exotic dancer was simply fantastic. She has performed all over Europe, gathering halls in Paris Olympia, Milan La Scala, enthralling the audience of Madrid and Berlin. She earned a lot, but spent even more, and in order to supplement her income, she became a courtesan.

On July 25, 1917, Mata Hari was sentenced to death, which was executed on October 15, 1917. According to legend, the impudent dancer blew a kiss to her executioners. However, Shirman claims that she, abandoning the blindfold, picked them up and smiled. Her action stunned those present. This was her last performance.

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