Mata Hari mä´tə hä´rē [key], 1876–1917, Dutch dancer and spy in German service during World War I. Her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. A dancer in Paris, she joined the German secret service in 1907, and during the war she betrayed important military secrets confided to her by the many high Allied officers who were on intimate terms with her. In 1917 she was arrested, convicted, and executed by the French.
See biography by S. Waagenaar (1965).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Benelux History: Biographies