H-21 aka Mata Hari

Vixen or Martyr to the Cult of Celebrity and Glamour?

On October 15th 1917 Mata Hari/agent H-21 faced execution by firing squad. A wretched way to go, made more poignant as she was not only a great beauty, but most likely not guilty.

Mata Hari

ca. 1910

b. 7th Aug. 1876

d. 15th Oct. 1917

execution by firing squad.


Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in the Netherlands, wisely going by the far sexier stage name Mata Hari; the former Margaretha cultivated an image of mystery, glamour, and forbidden danger.

That and she was blessed with a very hot body.


During WW I , as a Dutch subject she was free to cross borders, from different sources she seemed to have kept lovers in enemy cities . If this were not the case, she certainly seems to have enjoyed cultivating the allure of her very own  Dance of the Seven Veils.


This terpsichorean enchantment seems to have clouded her judgement, for when faced by French intelligence officers accusing her of being the German spy H-21, she ultimately confessed. Had the poor thing been broken down, or had her own perception of her seductive powers , a modern day Salome -narcissism, pushed her forward before the firing squad.

I don’t know, I will leave that to the scholars. For now more lovely remembrances of this iconic femme fatale.

source for this image, and the following

No discussion pertaining to femme fatales is complete without mention of that  grandest of  vixens , Greta Garbo ,who somehow avoided the firing squad, yet seduced us all.


I include only a clip of her marvelous performance of the doomed Mata Hari, I think I am due a  second viewing.

I suggest if you wish to see more images of this enchantress you follow this link, H-21 warrants further investigation : Mata Hari link .

Have a great weekend.



4 Responses to “H-21 aka Mata Hari”

  1. Thank you so much for this, Leonard! I had never seen a photo of her in profile and she has a gorgeous noble nose! beautiful!

    File under “for what it’s worth”: you ought to check out the story of “Chung Ling Soo” – an American magician (who was born William Robinson) who also decided it would be more lucrative to be exotic and also ended with a bullet, though not in front of a firing squad.

  2. ooh I can’t wait, chinoiserie magician-hood, right up my alley 🙂
    I’m eager to introduce you to my partner, we tried swinging by over the weekend but time slipped by, soon…

  3. Beautiful in every way — both the post and the ladies featured. Thank you, Leonard!

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