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On the morning of the 12th October, 1915, the Matron of the Berkendael Institute, a Hospital she had been Matron of since 1907, in Brussels, Belgium, was marched from her sparse detention place, and Executed on the orders of the German High Command. Her name of course was Edith Cavell, and she had been running the institute as a Red Cross Hospital, treating men from both side of the conflict with equal care and attention.
She had been arrested, and charged, with helping 150 allied troops to escape to what was then, neutral Holland. Despite protests from two other neutral countries, America and Spain, she was refused mercy and condemned to death. The true figure of those she had assisted in their escapes was much closer to 300, and may have been many more. So in same way that the French had gained a Martyr in Joan of Arc, so did we, and the world looked, on horrified. Two years later, and it was the turn of the French, to receive condemnation for a similar act of stupidity.
Margaretha Gertrude Zelle, found guilty of espionage under some dubious circumtances, was Executed at dawn on 15th October, 1917, at Vincennes, in France. She had been born in Holland, and you may be more familar with her other name, " Mata Hari ". By profession, she was a Dancer, of the more erotic kind, and was much sort after by men in high places. These men tended to be some of the high command from both side of the front lines, and after a while, she became to be a bit of an embaressment. Whether or not she obtained any secrets from any of them, is a mute point, but in any case, the French decided she had to go.
To this day, no one can be certain of the truth surrounding her execution, but it seems to have been a high price to pay for just taking your clothes off. And by popular request, here's another picture of the woman in question.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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