Great Mysteries of the 20th Century - Mata Hari
További érdekes és rejtélyes történeteket a 20. századból a 2014. áprilisi számunkban olvashatsz!
Margaretha Geertruida "M'greet" Zelle MacLeod was the beloved but spoilt daughter of a Dutch businessman, who bewitched the men around her from a young age. Her dark hair and olive skin was considered exotic and her height of 177 cm made her a formidable woman: actually taller than most Dutch men at the time. After her father went bankrupt and her mother died, in order to escape the boredom of small-town life, she married Captain Rudolf MacLeod, serving in the Dutch Army in the East-Indies. Her marriage, though providing financial security and inclusion into the Dutch upper-class, was disastrous: her husband was not only an alcoholic, but also infected her with syphilis, which probably caused the early death of their son. Stationed in the East-Indies, Margaretha had the opportunity to study the culture and dancing of the island of Java, on which she capitalized after her divorce from MacLeod in 1902, who had left her penniless.
In Paris, she reinvented herself as Mata Hari, meaning "sunrise" or, more literally, "the eye of the day", in the language of the Dutch East Indies, and became notorious but very popular for her exotic dancing and string of wealthy lovers. Unfortunately, she signed a contract to dance in Berlin for six months just before World War I broke out, when her fur coats and money have been seized and she had to charm a Dutch businessman for her train fare to Amsterdam. Some of her biographers believe that she attended a German spy academy, but neither the British, nor the French could find anything to prove this.
During the war, Mata Hari fell in love with a Russian officer nearly 20 years her junior, who was wounded in battle. In order to get money, she agreed to spy on the Germans for the French. She was supposed to extract secrets from German officers but her mission didn’t go as planned. When back in Paris, she was accused of spying for Germany, tried and sentenced to death. Since no one had any evidence against her or could point to a single document, plan or secret that she passed to the Germans, it is still questionable whether she was involved in German espionage at all. The courageous woman faced the firing squad without a blindfold, in her best clothes, stylish to death.
spoilt - elkényeztetett
to bewitch - megbabonázni
olive skin - kreol bőr
to go bankrupt - csődbe menni
financial security - anyagi biztonság
upper-class - felsőbb osztály, elit
to infect - megfertőzni
to capitalize on - kihasználni valamit
penniless - nincstelen, pénztelen
notorious - hírhedt
wealthy - vagyonos
spy - kém
to be wounded - megsebesülni
to extract - megszerez, kicsikar
to be sentenced to death - halálra ítélik
espionage - kémkedés
blindfold - szembekötés