These pictures are shared all over the internet as being an authentic historical photo of the actual execution of famous Dutch spy Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod) in 1917.
When Mata Hari was shot, on the 15th of October 1917, no photos of the execution were taken, there is one photo online showing several high ranking military men supposedly observing te execution but I’ve not been able to figure out if this is true.
These pictures have been shared as being a genuine photo of the actual execution of the real Mata Hari for decades.
Even newspapers published it as such.
But they’re not.
The pictures are actually screenshots or set photos from films
On the left you see a picture from an 1920s movie.
Although some sources claim it is the film called ‘Mata Hari’, made by Ludwig Wolff in 1920, with actress Asta Nielsen as Mata Hari, it is more likely to be from ‘Die Tänzerin Navarro’, made in 1923.
There seems to be no trace of a film named after or about Mata Hari made by Wolff in the 1920s but he and Nielsen did make the Navarro film in 1923 with a story that includes a woman being suspected of espionage and a firing squad scene.
Sadly this film is lost.
Underneath it you see an example of this picture being published in a newspaper.
On the right you see pictures from the film Mata Hari, agent H21′, made in 1964.
Actress Jeanne Moreau portraying Mata Hari.
I’ve added a photo of director Jean-Louis Richard giving her directions, he clearly isn’t someone from 1917.
You can actually see behind the scenes footage of the execution scene being filmed online here;
Picture found online, used for (re-)educational purposes only.
I do not own the copyrights to this picture, I only share it here for educational purposes to try and make sure the real story behind it becomes known and people will stop spreading false information.
If the copyright owner objects to the sharing here, kindly contact me and I shall remove it right away.