Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mata Hari: The Place Where She Was Killed

As I said in a previous post, many things about Mata Hari will remain forever shrouded in mystery. One is the exact place where she was killed. For sure it was in Paris, more specifically in Vincennes, most likely near the "butte de tir", today called the "Belvedere"

So, yesterday I went to Vincennes find the place; of course, the hill in front of which she was shot is round, so how can we know which side is the right one? I toured around the hill, but I think it is rather clear: it is the North side, the one facing the "rue de Saint Hubert." I can imagine that it was the easiest route to follow for the truck carrying the firing squad, as well as for the car carrying Mata Hari, and the mounted dragoons escorting the whole group. All these details are reported by Emile Massard in his description of the execution, he was one of the few, perhaps the only, witness of the execution who described it in writing. As you see in this Google photo, there is a straight road arriving there.

Today, there is absolutely nothing there to remember not only Mata Hari but the many people who were shot there during the Great War. I suppose that it is the way it has to be. So, I just stayed there for a little while. Then I took a little selfie of me there, it was the only thing I could do. Here it is:

Still a few days to the centennial of the execution, on Sunday 15 October. I wonder if there will be anyone there, in the morning, at 6:30, to remember that day!

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