She was a seductress who was alleged to have used her beauty to capture the secrets of top Allied officers during the First World War.
Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari, who was hired to spy for France, was executed by firing squad at the age of 41 after MI5 helped gather evidence that she was acting as a double agent for Germany.
She was killed in 1917 after being found guilty of allegedly leaking details of the Allies’ new weapon – the tank – to Germany.
Hari is known to have had allied military officers of various nationalities among his lovers.
Her alleged leaks are said to have resulted in the deaths of thousands of soldiers, although the extent of her culpability has been cast in doubt in recent years.
This week it was revealed that a Ukrainian teenage girl had replicated Hari’s exploits by using a dating app to track Russian troops and reveal where they were based.
She was so successful that a soldier had told her how he was struggling to try to earn money for a luxury car and sent her pictures of a boarding school used as a military base.
Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari, who was hired to spy for France, was executed by parole at the age of 41 after being convicted of also acting as a double agent for Germany. Top: The dancer poses in 1911
Hari was killed in 1917 after being found guilty of leaking details of the Allies’ new weapon – the tank – to Germany. Top: The dancer poses in 1906
Hari was born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle into a wealthy Dutch family in 1876.
Ukraine’s online Mata Hari: Russian troops are duped by an 18-year-old woman who uses a dating app to trick them into giving away their location in Ukraine by flirting with them
By Ian Birrell for the Daily Mail
A Ukrainian teenage girl forced by war to flee her home in Kherson has revealed she went on a dating app and pretended to be a Russian to track down enemy troops and reveal where they were based.
She was so successful that one soldier bragged that he was struggling to earn money for a luxury car and sent her pictures from a boarding school that was used as a military base.
Another showed a mansion where he guarded a high-ranking officer.
Her exploits echo that of World War I German spy Mata Hari, whose lovers in the top brass told her about the Allies’ new secret weapon, the tank.
But for Lisa – not her real name – her inspiration came from a girl on TikTok who befriended a Russian soldier, asked where he was serving and passed the information on to Ukraine’s army.
She adopted the name by which she would forever be known as she took on acting and dancing roles after moving to France.
Before leaving Holland, she endured a troubled marriage to hard-drinking Dutch army captain Rudolf MacLeod.
The couple had two children, a son and daughter. The son, Norman, was killed when he and his sister were poisoned by their nanny. Their daughter, Non, survived.
Hari and her husband separated in 1902 and the dancer moved to Paris, but was forced to leave her daughter with her former spouse.
Once in France, Hari began performing in private homes, and stories of her seductive moments and nudity soon began to pass around Parisian high society.
In May 1914 she signed a contract to dance for six months in Berlin.
This meant that when the war broke out in August of the same year, she was stuck in Germany.
She then charmed a Dutch businessman into paying her train fare to Amsterdam.
Hari was contacted by Karl Kroemer, the German consul, who told her he was recruiting spies and gave her 20,000 francs.
While she took the money, she allegedly did not spy for him, according to American academic Pat Shipman’s 2007 book.
She was stopped by MI5 when she traveled to France via Britain to avoid the front line of the war.
She was considered suspicious by the intelligence services, partly because she spoke French, English, Italian, Dutch and probably German.
Shipman explained: ‘The problem was not what Mata Hari said, but who she was. She was a woman traveling alone, clearly wealthy and an excellent linguist—too educated, too foreign.
Hari was born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle to a wealthy Dutch family in 1876. Above: The dancer is seen wearing a feather hat in 1900
Hari adopted the name by which she would forever be known as she took on acting and dancing roles after moving to France
Hari is seen in 1900 posing for a portrait wearing a white dress. The dancer became famous throughout Europe
‘Worse still, she admitted she had a lover. Such women were immoral and not to be trusted.’
A British intelligence officer in the Netherlands then spread rumors about payments to her from the German embassy.
He added: ‘She is suspected of having gone to France on an important mission which will benefit the Germans.’
Back in Paris, Hari resumed her glamorous life and had dalliances with men in uniform. She was not aware that she was being pursued by two undercover policemen.
Her letters were steamed up, porters were questioned, and waitresses and hairdressers collected evidence of her love life.
An undated photo of Dutch dancer and glamorous spy Mata Hari, who was executed by France in 1917
Hari is seen posing in a white dress in 1905. She was arrested in 1917 and executed for alleged espionage
Then the head of the French intelligence service, Captain Georges Ladoux, forced her to promise to sign up as a spy for France in exchange for allowing her to visit her Russian lover in the town of Vittel, which was in an area marked by fighting.
But Ladoux and Britain were still convinced she was a German spy.
After spending time with her lover in Vittel, she returned to Paris and was sent on a mission to German-occupied Belgium.
When Belgium proved impossible to reach, she went to Spain and turned her charms on a German intelligence officer.
After he told her secrets about German maneuvers in North Africa, she passed the information on to Ladoux.
But Ladoux used her meetings with Kalle to claim that she was passing French secrets to the enemy.
This week it was revealed that a Ukrainian teenage girl had replicated Hari’s exploits by using a dating app to track Russian troops and reveal where they were based. Above: The men the girl, named Lisa, targeted
She was arrested, tried and found guilty of revealing information about the British construction of the then revolutionary tank.
Hari was sentenced to death by firing squad.
On the day she was shot and killed, she donned black stockings, high heels and a fur-lined velvet cape before declaring: ‘I’m ready’.
She was taken to an old fort on the outskirts of Paris and faced a firing squad of 12 French officers.
Hari is said to have declined the offer of a blindfold, declaring: ‘Do I have to wear it?’