Every thing ever need to know about the Secrete SPY from the past : MATA HARI -Zelle

Mata Hari (1876–1917) was a Dutch exotic dancer executed for espionage during World War I.

Jul 14, 2021 - 12:11
Every thing ever need to know about the Secrete SPY from the past : MATA HARI -Zelle
Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod (née Zelle; 7 August 1876 – 15 October 1917), better known by the stage name Mata Hari was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I. Despite her having admitted under interrogation to taking money to work as a German spy, many people still believe she was innocent because the French Army needed a scapegoat. She was executed by firing squad in France.

Mata Hari in 1906, soon after the Dutchwoman reinvented herself as an exotic dancer. Inspired by dances she had seen in the Dutch East Indies, she took a stage name that means “eye of the day” in Malay.

Margaretha Geertruida Zelle was born 7 August 1876 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands. She was the eldest of four children to Adam Zelle (1840–1910) and his first wife Antje van der Meulen (1842–1891). She had three younger brothers; Johannes Hendriks, Arie Anne, and Cornelis Coenraad. She was affectionately called "M'greet" by her family.

Despite traditional assertions that Mata Hari was partly of Jewish, Malaysian, or Javanese, i.e. Indonesian, descent, scholars conclude she had no Jewish or Asian ancestry and both of her parents were Dutch.

Her father owned a hat shop, made investments in the oil industry, and became affluent enough to give Margaretha and her siblings a lavish early childhood that included exclusive schools until the age of 13.

Soon after Margaretha's father went bankrupt in 1889, her parents divorced, and her mother died in 1891. Her father remarried in Amsterdam on 9 February 1893 to Susanna Catharina ten Hoove (1844–1913).

The family fell apart, and Margaretha was sent to live with her godfather, Mr Visser, in Sneek. Subsequently, she studied to be a kindergarten teacher in Leiden, but when the headmaster began to flirt with her conspicuously, she was removed from the institution by her godfather.

A few months later, she fled to her uncle's home in The Hague. At 18, Margaretha answered an advertisement in a Dutch newspaper placed by Dutch Colonial Army Captain Rudolf MacLeod (1856–1928), who was living in what was then the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and was looking for a wife.

Zelle married MacLeod in Amsterdam on 11 July 1895. He was the son of Captain John Brienen MacLeod (a descendant of the Gesto branch of the MacLeods of Skye, hence his Scottish surname) and Dina Louisa, Baroness Sweerts de Landas.

The marriage enabled Zelle to move into the Dutch upper class and placed her finances on a sound footing. She moved with her husband to Malang on the east side of the island of Java, traveling out on the SS Prinses Amalia in May 1897.

They had two children, Norman-John MacLeod (1897–1899) and Louise Jeanne MacLeod (1898–1919). The marriage was an overall disappointment.

MacLeod was an alcoholic and regularly beat Zelle, whom he blamed for his lack of promotion. He also openly kept a concubine, a socially accepted practice in the Dutch East Indies at that time. The disenchanted Zelle abandoned him temporarily, moving in with Van Rheedes, another Dutch officer.

She studied Indonesian culture intensely for several months and joined a local dance company during that time. In correspondence to her relatives in the Netherlands in 1897, she revealed her artistic name of Mata Hari, the word for "sun" in the local Malay language (literally, "eye of the day"). At MacLeod's urging, Zelle returned to him, but his behaviour did not change. She escaped her circumstances by studying the local culture.

In 1899, their children fell violently ill from complications relating to the treatment of syphilis contracted by their parents, though the family claimed they were poisoned by an irate servant. Jeanne survived, but Norman died. Some sources maintain that one of MacLeod's enemies may have poisoned their supper to kill both of their children.

After moving back to the Netherlands, the couple officially separated on 30 August 1902. The divorce became final in 1906, and Zelle was awarded custody of Jeanne.

MacLeod was legally required to pay child support, which he never did. During a visit to Jeanne, MacLeod decided not to return her to her mother.

Zelle did not have the resources to fight the situation and accepted it, believing that while MacLeod had been an abusive husband, he had always been a good father. Jeanne later died at the age of 21, possibly from complications related to syphilis.

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