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About this Famous Person



born Margartha Geertruida ZELLE

Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I

Source :  Alice SCHIPPERS

Born: on August 07, 1876 in Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Died: on October 15, 1917 in Vincennes, France


Margaretha Zelle was born 7 August 1876, in Leeuwarden, in the province of Friesland in the Netherlands. She was the eldest of four children of Adam Zelle (2 October 1840 – 13 March 1910) and his first wife Antje van der Meulen (21 April 1842 – 9 May 1891). She had three brothers. Her father owned a hat shop, made successful investments in the oil industry, and became affluent enough to give Margaretha a lavish early childhood that included exclusive schools until the age of 13. Despite traditional assertions that Mata Hari was partly of Javanese, i.e. Indonesian, descent, scholars conclude she had no Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry and both her parents were Dutch.

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