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Mata Hari was innocent

The week's news at a glance.

Paris

The Dutch striptease artist known as Mata Hari never spied for the Germans in World War I, said the great-grandson of the French judge who sent her to the firing squad. Historian Philippe Collas has written a book based on his great-grandfather’s papers, and he said the evidence showed that while Margareth Gertrude Zelle, better known by her stage name, was recruited by the Germans to seduce French army officers, she never revealed any French military secrets. In fact, she eventually spied successfully for the French. The French turned on her, though, because they needed a scapegoat for their poor progress in the war. Collas said his great-grandfather was eager to sacrifice Mata Hari because his own wife had cheated on him and he didn’t trust women.

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