22 September 2013

Juliette Dodu (1848-1909)

Juliette Dodu, daughter of Alphonse Dodu and Disaiffre de Pellegrin, was born on 15 Jun 1848 in Saint-Denis de la Reunion.

Her father died when Juliette was two years old. In 1864, at the age of sixteen, she left the island with her mother, who found work in France as director of the telegraph office of Pithiviers (Loiret). Juliette died in 1909 at the Clarens, Switzerland home of her brother-in-law, the painter Odilon Redon.

None Known

It was in the course of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 that she became famous. The Prussians occupied Pithiviers on 20 Sep 1870. The telegraph office was seized and the Dodu family was relegated to the second floor of the house. The young woman of twenty-two then had the idea to rig up a tap on the wire that passed by her room. Having kept a receiving apparatus, she was thus able to intercept the transmissions each time that the occupiers received or sent dispatches.

For 17 days, the young woman was able to deliver the dispatches to the French authorities without the slightest suspicion on the part of the Prussians, who were seduced by the charm of the young Frenchwoman. It was claimed that she saved the lives of 40,000 soldiers of General Aurelle de Paladines by means of one of her intercepted messages. However, the wiretap was discovered when a German soldier overheard a housekeeper accuse Juliette Dodu of tapping the telegraph wires. The Prussians prosecuted Juliette Dodu and tried her for espionage before a court-martial. She is reputed to have told her judges, Je suis Française et ma mère aussi, j’ai agi pour mon pays. Messieurs, faites de moi ce que vous voudrez ("I am French and so is my mother. I have acted for my country. Messieurs, do with me as you wish!"). She was condemned to death. But the armistice was signed before her execution and Juliette Dodu was pardoned by prince Frederick Charles of Prussia and set free.

Juliette Dodu in 1870
However, decree number 1942 of  8 Dec 1870 only accorded her an honorable mention, as well as the 20 other employees and agents of the telegraphic service, because the postal employees were utilized to aid the army in the use of the telegraph.

In 1873, Juliette Dodu was responsible for the telegraph office of Enghien-les-Bains, where she made the acquaintance of Hippolyte de Villemessant, the patron of Le Figaro. On 26 May 1877, the first known version of the "legend of Dodu" appeared in that journal.

Now cast as a symbol of the French resistance, Juliette Dodu was the first woman to receive the Military Medal and the Cross of the Legion of Honor. Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Marshall of France and president of the Third Republic, signed the decree of 30 Jul 1878, where it is stipulated "for intercepting dispatches at the peril of her life in 1870, for being condemned to death by the enemy and saved by the cessation of hostilities."

Around 1875, she began a relationship with the baron Félix Hippolyte Larrey, medical chief of the army and son of the celebrated Larrey, and inherited his fortune (including his small château at Bièvres, Essonne). In 1880, she became inspector of schools and asylums and took up residence in Switzerland. Under the pseudonym of Lipp, she published a work in 1891 dedicated to George Sand, l'Eternel Roman.

21 September 2013

Charlotte de Sauve (1551-1617)

Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, daughter of Jacues de Beaune, Baron Semblançay, Viscount of Tours and Gabrielld de Sade, was born on 26 Oct 1551 in France. She died on 30 Sep 1617 less than a month before her sixty-sixth birthday.

None Known

Charlotte was sent to court where she was educated in the household of the Queen Mother, Catherine de' Medici. Blonde-haired and described as having been "beautiful, intelligent and immoral", she was married to Simon de Fizes, Baron de Sauve, secretary of state first to King Charles IX and afterwards King Henry III, in 1569 when she was eighteen years old. Her marriage was arranged by the powerful Guise Family. In the words of historian Jean Heritier, her background meant that "at twenty-one, she knew all there was to be known about politics".

Charlotte's alleged beauty has been contradicted by author Mark Strage who instead described Charlotte as having had a face that was "more agreeable and animated than sensuous".

She was appointed maid-of-honour to Marguerite de Valois and is recorded as taking part in some of the extravagant pageants and ballets which Catherine de' Medici produced in abundance. She helped Catherine mount an outdoor banquet and lavish show depicting the Apotheosis of Woman on 9 Jun 1577 at the château of Chenonceau. During the banquet the male guests were served by Catherine's most beautiful ladies-in-waiting who wore topless gowns and their hair flowing loose as was the custom of brides on their wedding night.[

On 27 Nov 1579 her husband died. Charlotte married secondly on 18 October 1584 to Francois de La Tremoille, Marquis de Noirmoutier and gave birth to a son, Louis de La Tremoille in 1586. In 1608, Louis would succeed his father as Marquis de Noirmoutier. On 13 Mar 1610, he married Lucrèce Bouhier, by whom he had a son, Louis de La Tremoille, 1st Duke of Noirmoutier (25 Dec 1612- 12 Oct 1666). A notable descendant of Charlotte was Marie-Anne de la Trémoille, Princesse des Ursins.

Catherine de' Medici formed the "Flying Squadron"

Catherine de Medici's "Flying Squadron"

Shortly after Henry of Navarre's marriage to Catherine's daughter Marguerite de Valois in 1572, Catherine recruited Charlotte to her elite group of beautiful female spies and informants known as the "Flying Squadron" (L'escadron volant) and she quickly became one of its "most accomplished members".

The Queen Mother's purpose in inviting Charlotte to join the group was for the latter to seduce Navarre, become his confidante as well as mistress, and thus extract information which she would duly pass on to Catherine who would subsequently use it as political leverage. The "Flying Squadron" had a male counterpart in "Les Mignons". Charlotte quickly became Navarre's mistress and exerted a strong influence over him. His wife Marguerite recorded in her memoirs: "Mme de Sauve so completely ensnared my husband that we no longer slept together, not even conversed". She accused de Sauve ("that Circe") of persuading Henry that she was jealous of de Sauve, with the result that Henry, whose affairs Marguerite had allowed, stopped confiding in her.

Charlotte de Sauve has been credited as a source of the information that led to the execution of Marguerite de Valois's lover Joseph Boniface de La Môle and Annibal de Coconnas for engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow the gravely ill Charles IX and the Queen Mother in 1574 with the assistance of Huguenot troops. In 1575, Catherine de' Medici, abetted by her son Henry III, instructed Charlotte to seduce the king's brother, her youngest son, François, Duke of Alençon, with the aim of provoking hostility between the two young men, so that they would not conspire together in the future.

Charlotte subsequently became the duke's mistress, creating a rift between the former close friends, as Navarre and Alençon became rivals over Charlotte. According to Marguerite's memoirs: "Charlotte de Sauve treated both of them [Navarre and Alençon] in such a way that they became extremely jealous of each other, to such a point that they forgot their ambitions, their duties and their plans and thought of nothing but chasing after this woman". Henry of Navarre wrote to a friend: "The court is the strangest I have ever known. We are nearly always ready to cut each other's throat ... All the band you know wants my death on account of my love for Monsieur [Alençon] and they have forbidden for the third time my mistress [Charlotte de Sauve] to speak to me. They have such a hold on her that she does not dare look at me. I am waiting for a minor battle, for they say they will kill me, and I want to be one jump ahead of them". On one occasion, Henry III had Alençon's papers searched for evidence of political plotting but turned up only a declaration of love from Madame de Sauve.

Ball at the court of Henry III, c. 1582

In the autumn of 1578, she was recorded as having been one of the three hundred members of the court which accompanied Catherine and Marguerite on a royal progress to the Kingdom of Navarre where the latter was reunited with her husband who had returned to his kingdom two years earlier. However, instead of resuming his love affair with Charlotte, Navarre's interest was caught by Victoria de Ayala, a beautiful Spanish girl and a recent recruit to the "Flying Squadron".

Charlotte de Sauve later became the mistress of Navarre's greatest adversary, Henry I, Duke of Guise, with whom she spent the night at Blois on 22 December 1588, before his assassination by "the Forty-five", Henry III's bodyguards, the following morning. She had other lovers, including the Duc d'Épernon and the Seigneur d'Avrilly.

Later years and death

She appears again in 1599 when she was called upon as a witness in the annulment proceedings of Henry of Navarre (who had succeeded to the French throne as Henry IV in 1589) and Marguerite, who had proved to be sterile. Henry wished to annul his marriage in order to marry Marie de' Medici and sire an heir. Charlotte testified that Marguerite had been forced to marry Henry by Charles IX and the Queen Mother swearing that Catherine had threatened Marguerite that "if she did not consent to this marriage, she would make her the most miserable woman in the kingdom". The annulment was granted on 17 Dec 1599 leaving King Henry free to wed Marie de' Medici by whom he had six legitimate royal offspring, including his heir Louis.

17 September 2013

Liu Hulan

Liu Hulan (刘胡兰) was born in 1932 in Yunzhouxi village, in the Wenshut county of the Shanxi province. She was a young female spy during the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. She has served as a potent and forceful model for various segments of the rural population that needed to be co-opted by the Party in the period preceding the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. 

She joined the Communist Party in 1946 and soon after joined an association of women working in support of the Liberation Army. She was actively involved in organizing the villagers of Yunzhouxi in support of the Communist Party of China. As an organizer, she had set up a chapter of the Women's Federation, and in her capacity as secretary of that chapter, she had been actively involved in moblizing her fellow villagers to support the party in the civil war. 

On 12 Jan 1947, the Kuomintang army invaded her village in response to the assassination of Shi Peihuai, the village chief of Yunzhouxi, who was known to be loyal to the Kuomintang. Upon entering the village, Kuomintang soldiers rounded up several reputed Communist Party members believed to be involved of the assassination, among them the teenager Liu Hulan. The party members were decapitated in the town square. Before killing Liu Hulan, the executioners paused, giving her one final chance to renounce her allegiance to the Communist Party. She refused, and was immediately beheaded. She was 14 years old.

In that same year, Liu was made a model. Mao penned the slogan "A great life, a glorious death" in her memory. In 1957, the Liu Hulan Memorial Hall was erected in Wenshuixian, Shanxi Province. One of its features became the Liu Hulan statue. Although she seems to have been replaced by more updated successors in recent decades, she remains a fixture in the pantheon of heroes.

Photos found at Chineseposters.net
Young heroes' scrolls - Liu Hulan, 1961
Young heroes' scrolls
Liu Hulan (1961)

Learn from a hero of the people, 1954
Learn from a hero of the people (1954)
Joining the ranks, 1965
Joining the ranks (1965)

14 September 2013

Yoshiko Kawashima (1907-1948)

Aisin Gioro Xianyu, 14th daughter of Shanqu (10th son of Prince Su of the Manchu imperial family) on 24 Mar 1907 in Beijing. She was given for adoption at the age of eight to her father's friend Naniwa Kawashima, a Japanese espionage agent and mercenary adventurer after the Xinhai Revolution. Her step-father changed her name to Yoshiko. 


None Known

In 1927, Kawashima married Ganjuurjab, the son of Inner Mongolian Army General Jengjuurjab, leader of the Mongolian-Manchurian Independence Movement based in Ryojun. The marriage ended in divorce after only two years, and Kawashima moved to the foreign concession in Shanghai. While in Shanghai, she met Japanese military attaché and intelligence officer Ryukichi Tanaka, who utilized her contacts with the Manchu and Mongol nobility to expand his network. She was living together with Tanaka in Shanghai at the time of the Shanghai Incident of 1932.

After Tanaka was recalled to Japan, Kawashima continued to serve as a spy for Major-General Kenji Doihara. She undertook undercover mission in Manchuria, often in disguise, and was considered "strikingly attractive, with a dominating personality, almost a film-drama figure, half tom-boy and half heroine, and with this passion for dressing up as a male. Possibly she did this to impress the men, or so that she could more easily fit into the tightly-knit guerrilla groups without attracting too much attention".

Kawashima was well-acquainted with former Qing Emperor Pu Yi who regarded her as a member of Royal Family and made her welcome in his household during his stay in Tianjin. It was through this close liaison that Kawashima was able to persuade Pu Yi to return to the Manchu homeland as head of the newly Japanese-created state of Manchukuo.

After the installation of Pu Yi as Emperor of Manchukuo, Kawashima continued to play various roles and, for a time, was mistress of Major General Hayao Tada, who was chief military advisor for Pu Yi. She formed an independent counter insurgency cavalry force in 1932 made up of 3,000-5,000 former bandits to hunt down anti-Japanese guerilla bands during the Pacification of Manchukuo, and was hailed in theJapanese newspapers as the Joan of Arc of Manchukuo. In 1933, she offered the unit to the Japanese Kwantung Army for Operation Nekka, but it was refused. The unit continued to exist under her command until sometime in the late 1930s.

After the end of the war, on 11 Nov 1945, a news agency reported that "a long sought-for beauty in male costume was arrested in Peking by the Chinese counter-intelligence officers." 

In 1948, Kawashima was tried as a traitor (Hanjian) by the Nationalist Government under her Chinese name (Jin Bihui) and was executed by a shot into the back of her head on 25 Mar 1948.

13 September 2013

Karin Lannby (1916-2007)

Karin Lannby, daughter of Gunnar & Lilly Lannby, was born on 13 Apr 1916 in Linkoping, Sweden.



As a student in the 1930s, Karin, being a convinced anti-fascist, joined the Swedish Communists. During the Spanish civil-war, she served as an interpreter and secretary at a hospital in Valencia. She made contact with the Comintern in Barcelona, who gave her an assignment to infiltrate the troops of Francisco Franco in the south of France. 

After having failed her task, she was excluded from the communists and returned to Sweden. From 1939–45, she was an agent in service of the Swedish state during the second world war; under the code name Anette, she reported of her observations from the cultural and diplomatic circles of Stockholm's party life.

She acted in several films during the war. In 1940–41, she had a relationship with Ingmar Bergman. After the war, Karin Lannby changed her name to Maria Cyliakus and moved to France (1952), where she was active as an actress, translator and journalist.

12 September 2013

Aqueda Monasterio de Lattapiat (1776-1817)

Born in 1776, Aqueda Monasterio was from an ancient colonial family. She was one of the national heroines of the Mexican War for Independence. 

Aqueda married Juan Lattipiat, a French official who had served in Buenos Aires under Liniers. Author Vincente Grez provided a description of her in 1811, when she was aged 35: "Una figura noble, llena de altivez y de energía." 

She shared her husband's support of independence and hosted a modest tertulia that was attended by less well-to-do people than those of "el mundo elegante". Grez describes the couple as the democratic force of the revolution for independence. Aqueda was at the centre of these meetings, dominating them with her talent, character, virtues and enthusiasm. 

She and her daughter Juana (aged around 14-15) wrote letters of encouragement to those in exile, sending them news of political developments. They confided in her, telling her of delicate and secret commissions. She was surrounded by spies and a letter from her to San Martín was intercepted. She was imprisoned by Marcó and her execution was ordered. Juana's right hand was cut off for having written letters dictated by her mother. 

Monasterio's execution was suspended, possibly for fear of public outcry and a revolt. She and Juana were taken home by friends, but her imprisonment and Juana's mutilation had taken their toll. Monasterio died a few days after her release in 1817 and six days before the republicans' victory at Chacabuco. (Grez, 67-70)

10 September 2013

Madame d'Oettlinger (last observed in 1815)

Madame d'Oettlinger or Baroness d'Oettlinger was the name used by a woman who was talked about as one of the agents of Napoleon. She was rumored to have played a part in the fall of Duke of Enghien, and of spying on the Swedish monarch during his stay in Germany.

During 1803 to 1805, King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden visited Karlsruhe in Germany to negotiate with the exiled French royalists and Bourbon family. The city was filled with French spies, among which d'Oettlinger was pointed out as the most dangerous. She was said to have had a relationship with the Duke of Enghien, who was executed by Napoleon, and presented herself as a French exiled royalist, devastated over the death of her lover Enghien. 

It was noted that she appeared before the Countess Gyldenstolpe dressed in mourning. She was described as a witty beauty with great charm and was greatly popular in the city's high society circles. 

She met with the Swedish monarch and with the royal secretaries, Gustaf Lagerbjelke and Carl Aron Ehrengranat, both of whom fell in love with her, and managed to acquire the king's documents regarding his plans toward Napoleon.

Upon the arrival of d'Oettlinger in Karlsruhe, the Swedish Countess Caroline Lewenhaupt, then living in Strassburg, wrote to her friend Countess Gyldenstolpe:

"You will soon see the arrival in Karlsruhe of a certain Baroness d'Oettlinger, to high degree accommodating and witty. She will delight you all; she will estimate literature and the fine arts as the Countess Oxenstierna; she will talk to you of fashion and other things; she will by her beauty twist the heads of your men: but beware of her! She is believed to be a tool in the hands of the highest Police. She is dangerous."

She was reportedly in the service of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. By her great personal ability to win people over, she had made contact with the secret consort of Enghien, Charlotte Louise de Rohan, by her alleged admiration of Enghien. There were rumors that she played a part in the fall of Enghien. She was chosen for the task in Karlsruhe because of the sympathy the Swedish monarch was known to feel toward Enghien. She was last observed in 1815.

09 September 2013

Zoffia Potocka (1760-1822)

Zofia Clavone, daughter of Constantine and Maria Clovone, was born 12 Jan 1760 in Bursa, Anatolia, Ottoman Empire. She died on 24 Nov 1822 in Berlin, Prussia.

She was a Greek prostitute, slave and spy who became a Polish noblewoman as the wife of Stanislaw Szczesny Potocki. She was famous in the Europe of her day for her dramatic life and her love affairs and was known as the lover of Grigory Potemkin, among others.

Sophia de Tchelitche
La Belle Phanariote

In 1772, when she was twelve, her mother, who supported herself by selling vegetables, sold Zofia to the Polish ambassador in Constantinople, who provided the Polish monarch with prostitutes: her sister was sold to a Turkish pasha. Zofia was the mistress of the ambassador until 1778, when she became a prostitute and called herself Sophie de Tchelitche. 

In 1779, she was bought by a Polish Commander, Józef Witt, who married her. They had two sons, Jan and Kornel. Witt sent her to Paris with the princess of Nassau-Siegen to be cultivated in polite society. She made a great success in Paris, where she was called La Belle Phanariote and became famous for her remark "My eyes hurt". She was called the most beautiful woman in Europe. During her stay in Paris, she had affairs with the two younger brothers of the French monarch, the count of Provence and the count of Artois.

In 1787, the Witts traveled to Istanbul, where they were at the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War. A year later, she was present in the camp of the favorite of Catherine the Great, Grigory Potemkin, and became his lover, a relationship which lasted until his death. During the siege of Chotin, her husband, then governor of Kamenets, managed Potemkin's spy net in southern Poland and upheld spy contacts in Chotin, although this task was probably managed by Zofia, as her sister was married to the pasha of Chotin. Potemkin made her husband governor of Cherson and probably used her as an agent among the Poles and Turks. She was introduced as the official lover of Grigory Potemkin at a ball during his visit to Saint Petersburg 1791. She was sent away by Aleksandra von Engelhardton the death of Potemkin.

In 1798 Zofia married secondly the Polish nobleman Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki, with whom she had had an affair in Jassy, after he managed to help her acquire a legal Catholic divorce with great difficulty. The wedding was a double rite, Catholic and Orthodox, because of the religion of the bride, and in addition was an expression of loyalty to the Empress Catherine. They had eight children. She also had many lovers and illegitimate children. During her marriage, she had a love affair with her step son, Szczęsny Jerzy Potocki, who was probably the father of her son Boleslaw. Her husband founded the Park Sofijówka ("Sofia's Park") for her at a cost of 15 million złoty.

After the death of her husband in 1805, Zofia Potocka ended her affair with her stepson and devoted her time to her children. According to Polish civil law, a widow received back her dowry and also shared in her husband's property. Due to her lack of dowry, she received little inheritance from Potocki, whose only lawful heirs were the sons of his first marriage. However, with the support of her former stepson Felix Potocki, who was her lover, and the Tsar's governor Nikolai Novosiltsov, another of her lovers, she managed to keep almost the whole of his property.

07 September 2013

Luisa Recabarren de Marin (1777-1839)

Chilian patriot, Luisa Recabarren (ray-cah-bar'-ren) was born in 1777 in La Serena. She became an orphan at the age of eight years old and was educated by her uncle, Estanislao Recabarren. In 1796 she married Dr. Jose Gaspar Marin, in whose house she aided in preparing for tile events of 18 Sep 1810. 

In October 1814, when the Spaniards overcame the patriots, Marin went into hiding. Luisa continued to live in their house, attending to the education of their children, but slipped out to meet him. Eventually he went into exile across the Andes to Mendoza. Luisa remained in Santiago, attending to the education of their children: Ventura Marín became a writer and philosopher, Francisco an orator and statesman and Mercedes Marín de Solar, "una de las poetisas más inspiriadas y fecundas de América. (Knaster states she was the mother of Amelia Solar de Claro.)

Luisa's wealth was confiscated by the Spaniards. Patriots nonetheless continued to meet in her house to hear news of the exiles that was brought in letters from Marín to Recabarren. She kept Marín informed about political developments and also wrote to Manuel Rodríguez. 

In the last days of 1816, authorities captured the correspondence of patriots in Melipilla and found a letter from San Martin for Luisa, together with a list in cipher of the persons concerned in the conspiracy against the government. Luisa was interrogated, but gave nothing away. By order of Marco del Pont she was arrested on 4 Jan 1817 and imprisoned in the Monasterio de las Agustinas (convent of the Augustine nuns). She left jail in triumph on 12 Feb 1817 when the republican army defeated the Spaniards. 

Luisa lived afterward greatly honored by the public. She survived her husband by only three months, dying in Santiago on 31 May 1839.

06 September 2013

Heba Selim (died 1973)

Heba Selim was an Egyptian spy who worked for the Mossad along with her fiancé Farouk Al-Fikki. Originally from Assiut in middle Egypt, she grew up in the upper-class Mohandeseen Cairo suburb. As a student in "Adab" (liberal arts) college, she majored in French. One of her instructors, a French man, offered her the opportunity of furthering her studies in Sorbonne. She stayed with an Egyptian family in Paris and was a regular guest at the Egyptian ambassador's home. In a 2010 Egyptian TV program, he described her as attractive, cheerful, bright and patriotic.

He did note, however, that she struggled financially as she could not find work in the Egyptian Embassy in Paris. He would later be instrumental in luring her back to Egypt, via Libya, by fabricating a story about her father's illness.

After her recruitment by the Mossad, she married Farouk el Fikki, an engineer Egyptian army officer, and gathered information through him about the locations of the anti-aircraft batteries. He later became aware and willingly participated in her spying activities. Israel scored many accurate hits destroying many anti aircraft missile bases at a heavy cost of men and material to the Egyptian side. The Israeli strikes were so accurate that the Egyptian side became convinced insider informants must be involved. Eventually her husband was caught and faced a certain death sentence. The Egyptians, however, decided to use him as a double agent for some time. Also, by not arresting him, he gave Heba Selim the impression that their spy activities were undetected.

After her capture, Henry Kissinger mediated on her behalf to former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Sadat, not wanting her to be a bargaining chip in the 1973 war cease fire talks, pretended not knowing anything about her fate and suggested to re-discuss her case later that evening. As soon as his meeting with Kissinger was over, he ordered her immediate execution and she was hanged within the hour. Later that evening he pretended that he would have tried to cooperate, but that Kissinger's mediation efforts came too late.

Heba Selim is the basis of the Egyptian film Al sood ila al haweyah (Climbing to the abyss). One of the most famous lines in Egyptian cinema history is said at the end of the movie as Abla (Heba Selim's name in the movie) is flown to Egypt after her capture in Libya. As the plane approaches Cairo airport, her escorting intelligence officer points at the pyramids and the Nile and then, in a most condemning tone he says "we heya dee Masr ya abla" (and this is Egypt Abla).

Policarpa Salavarrieta (c. 1795-1817)

Apolonia Salavarrieta, daughter of Joaquin Salavarrieta and Mariana de Rios, was born abt. 21 Jan 1795 in Guaduas, Viceroyalty of New Granada. Because her birth certificate was never found, her legal given name is unknown. The name Salavarrieta is known only by the names her family and friends used. Her father referred to her as Apolonia in his will.

She spied for the Revolutionary Forces during the Spanish Reconquista of the Viceroyalty of New Granada.

La Pola
Gregoria Apolinaria (1817)

History indicates that Policarpa was not involved in politics before 1810, but by the time she moved back to Bogotá in 1817, she was actively participating in political issues. Because Bogotá was the stronghold of the Reconquista, where most of the population were Spanish Royalists and approved of the take over by Pablo Morillo, it was very difficult to get in and out of the city. Policarpa and her brother Bibiano entered the capital with forged documents and safeguards, and a letter of introduction written by Ambrosio Almeyda and José Rodríguez, two Revolutionary leaders; they recommended she and her brother stay in the house of Andrea Ricaurte y Lozano under cover of working as her servants. In reality Andrea Ricaurte's home was the centre of intelligence gathering and resistance in the capital.

In Guaduas, Policarpa was known as a revolutionary. Because she was not known in Bogotá, she could move freely and meet with other patriots and spies unsuspected. She could also infiltrate the homes of the royalists. Offering her services as a seamstress to the wives and daughters of royalists and officers, Policarpa altered and mended for them and their families; at the same time she overheard conversations, collected maps and intelligence on their plans and activities, identified who the major royalists were, and found out who were suspected of being revolutionaries.

Policarpa also secretly recruited young men to the Revolutionary cause; with assistance from her brother. Together, they helped increase the number of soldiers the insurgency in Cundinamarca desperately needed.

Policarpa's operations ran smoothly and undetected until the Almeyda brothers were apprehended while carrying information back to the insurgents outside Bogotá. Their information directly linked La Pola to the Revolution. The Almeyda brothers and La Pola were implicated in helping soldiers desert the Royal Army and join the Revolution; transporting weapons, munitions and supplies to the insurgents; in helping the Almeydas escape from prison when they were captured in September of the same year, and finding them refuge in Machetá. They had hoped their connection with La Pola could come in handy in the event of a revolt in the city. The loyalists now suspected her of treason, but lacked solid evidence to accuse a seamstress of espionage and treason.

The arrest of Alejo Sabaraín while he was trying to escape to Casanare was the event that allowed the royalists to arrest La Pola; he was apprehended with a list of Royalist and Patriots given to him by Policarpa.

Sergeant Iglesias, the principal Spanish officer in Bogotá, was charged with finding and arresting her. Policarpa Salavarrieta and her brother Bibiano were both arrested at the house of Andrea Ricaurte y Lozano and taken to the Colegio Mayor de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which had been turned into a makeshift prison.

The hour chosen for her execution was 9:00 a.m. on November 14. Hands bound, La Pola marched to her death with two priests by her side and led by a guard. Instead of repeating the prayers the priests were reciting, she cursed the Spaniards and predicted their defeat in the coming Revolution. It is said that La Pola cursed the Spaniards relentlessly during the night before her execution. At one point she stopped, tired and thirsty, and one of the guards offered her a glass of wine. She tossed the glass right back at her captors, proclaiming "I would not accept even a glass of water from my enemies!". They were taken to the Council of war and on November 10, Policarpa, Alejo and six other prisoners were sentenced to execution by firing squad on the morning of 14 Nov 1817.

She was to die with six other prisoners and her lover, Alejo Sabaraín, in the Bolívar Square. After ascending the scaffold she was told to turn her back, as that was the way traitors were killed. As she was led to her execution, Policarpa gave heart to the other prisoners and berated her captors. La Pola, refusing to kneel to the Spanish firing squad, yelled, "I have more than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more. Do not forget my example." When the squad began shooting, Pola turned around to face the squad.

As was customary, the bodies of Alejo and the other six prisoners were paraded and exhibited through the streets of Bogotá, to scare off would-be Revolutionaries. Being a woman, she was spared this final humiliation.

Her Augustinian friar brothers, José Maria de Los Ángeles and Manuel Salavarrieta, claimed the body, to give her a proper Christian burial in the convent church of San Agustín, in the neighborhood of La Candelaria.

03 September 2013

Princess Stephanie Julianna von Hohenlohe (1891-1972)

Stephanie Julienne Richter, daughter of Johann Sebastian Richter and Ludmilla Kuranda, was born 16 Sep 1891 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. She died on 13 Jun 1972. She was reportedly Jewish by birth. She died in Geneva, Switzerland in 1972 and is buried there.

In her early twenties, Stephanie had an affair with the married Archduke Franz Salvator, Prince of Tuscany. He was the son-in-law of Emperor Franz Joseph I through his marriage to Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria. Pregnant with Franz Salvator's child, she persuaded Friedrich Franz von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, a German prince of the Hohenlohe family, that the baby was his. They married on 12 May 1914, giving her the title of "princess", which she used the rest of her life. Her son was born in Vienna on 5 December 1914. His full name became Franz Josef Rudolf Hans Weriand Max Stefan Anton von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst.


Hitler's Spy Princess

Princess Stephanie and her husband were divorced in 1920. Later that year he married Count Emanuela Batthyány von Német-Ujvár of Hungary, in Budapest on 6 Dec 1920. They did not have any children. They escaped to Brazil in the closing days of World War II.

After the divorce, Princess Stephanie's surname was zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, as was Austrian custom. Over the years, she always represented herself as a Hohenlohe princess. She lived in Paris until the government forced her out on suspicion of being a spy. She moved to London in 1932, settling at the exclusive Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair, London. During this period, she had developed friendships and sometimes intimate relationships with powerful and influential men, including Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, an Anglo-Irish tycoon who owned the influential Daily Mail and Daily Mirror in London, and Joachim von Ribbentrop, who in the 1930s was the German Ambassador to Britain. She also cultivated others in the Nazi Party hierarchy.

As a princess, she socialized with the British aristocracy, connections that the Nazis believed could be valuable for their new government after they came to power in 1933. Her close friends included Lady Margot Asquith, the widow of the former prime minister Herbert Henry Asquith, Lady Ethel Snowden, the wife of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lady Londonderry and her husband Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry.

After Hitler gained power in Germany in 1933, MI6 circulated a report stating that the French secret service had discovered documents in the princess's flat in Paris ordering her to persuade Lord Rothermere to campaign for the return to Germany of territory ceded to Poland at the end of First World War. She was to receive £300,000 – equal to £13 million today - if she succeeded. Princess Stephanie had received financial support from Rothermere, who was an admirer of Hitler, and in the early 1930s he advocated an alliance with Germany. During the 1930s he paid Princess Stephanie an annual retainer of £5,000 (£200,000 today) to promote Germany and develop support for it among her influential connections. He also hoped she would introduce him to Nazi inner circles. (As war approached in 1939, their association deteriorated and Rothermere stopped paying her. Princess Stephanie took him to court, alleging in a lawsuit that he had promised the retainer for life. She lost the case.)

During visits to Germany, she had become closely acquainted withmembers of the Nazi hierarchy, including Adolf Hitler, who called her his "dear princess". She developed a close friendship with Hermann Göring, and Heinrich Himmler declared her an "honorary Aryan." In a 1938 MI6 report, British intelligence said of her, "She is frequently summoned by the Führer who appreciates her intelligence and good advice. She is perhaps the only woman who can exercise any influence on him."(This was part of a release of MI6 records in 2005 under declassification of documents.)

In England, Princess Stephanie acted as a courier, passing secret messages among high-ranking British men who were sympathetic to the Nazi regime. In 1937 she arranged for Lord Halifax to travel to Germany and meet Göring. She was also instrumental in arranging the visit that year to Germany of Edward, Duke of Windsor and his wife Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor.

In 1937 Princess Stephanie began an affair with Fritz Wiedemann, a personal aide to Hitler. When Wiedemann was appointed to the post of German Consul-General in San Francisco, she joined him in the United States in late 1937 and stayed for a time, returning to Europe the following year.

In 1938, the Nazis confiscated the property of Austrian Jews, including the Leopoldskron castle in Salzburg, which had been owned by theatre director Max Reinhardt. Some reported that Göring gave Princess Stephanie the property; other sources say she leased it, or was charged by Göring with developing the estate as a guest house for prominent artists of the Reich and to serve as a reception facility to Hitler's Berghof home.

Princess Stephanie returned to Britain in 1939, but after war was declared later that year she left the country, fearful of being arrested as a German spy. She traveled to the United States, returning to her former lover Fritz Wiedemann, then German Consul in San Francisco. On her arrival, the United States government placed her under security surveillance by the FBI. In March 1941 she was detained for several days by U.S. immigration authorities. She created some relationship with Major Lemuel B. Schofield, the Director of the US Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington, DC. He put her up in the Raleigh Hotel, where he also lived, and the two carried on an affair that lasted several months. She then lived with her mother and son in Alexandria, Virginia.

In October of that year, the FBI prepared a memo describing her as "extremely intelligent, dangerous and clever," and claiming that as a spy she was "worse than ten thousand men." Summarizing what was known about her, it recommended that her deportation not be further delayed, noting that the British and French, in addition to the United States intelligence community, suspected her of being a spy for Germany. She continued to stay in the US.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the formal entry of the USA into World War II, the FBI arrested Princess Stephanie, interning her at a facility in Philadelphia, and later at a Texas camp for enemy aliens. During this period, she was interviewed by personnel of the newly formed Office of Strategic Services (OSS). She was paroled in May 1945.

It was not until 2005 that British intelligence MI6 and the US FBI declassified and released some of the documents from these years, which are now available to researchers. American files show that during her interrogation by the OSS she provided insights into the character of Adolf Hitler, which were used by Henry A. Murray, Director of the Harvard Psychological Clinic, and psychoanalyst Dr. Walter C. Langer, in preparing the 1943 OSS report entitled Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler.

In the post-war era, Princess Stephanie returned to Germany, where she established new, influential connections. She worked with media executives such as Henri Nannen of Stern news magazine and Axel Springer, the owner of the Axel Springer AG publishing company. For the latter, she secured interviews with the United States presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.