Countess Krystyna Polish Skarb said Christine Granville (1908 1952), spy in Poland and France during the Second World War (1939 1945), Here al age of 19 years, Mention obligatoire

Notorious: Women Spies of the World Wars

Meet "The White Mouse," "The Limping Lady," and other famous and infamous spies.

Apic/RETIRED/Getty Images Mata Hari: Eye of the Day Bettmann/Bettmann Archive Mata Hari: Eye of the Day Margaretha Zelle was a Dutch exotic dancer who lived in Paris and became famous across Europe for her performances under the stage name “Mata Hari" — "Eye of the Day," poetically, in Indonesian. She was executed by the French government for passing information to the Germans during World War I, but today many argue that she was more scapegoat than spy. Mata Hari moved among elevated circles and spoke many languages, and spymasters on both sides approached her about collecting and sharing military intelligence. It's not clear whether she ever did any real spying, either for the French or the Germans, but the French eventually arrested her on suspicion of espionage. She was tried behind closed doors, convicted, and in 1917, she faced a firing squad. She refused a blindfold. Krystyna Skarbek: Churchill's Favorite Keystone/Getty Images Krystyna Skarbek: Churchill's Favorite The daughter of a Polish count, Skarbek was one of the first women to serve in the British Special Operations Executive during World War II. She went by the alias "Christine Granville" and was supposedly Churchill's favorite spy. Renowned for her bravery and intelligence, she once skied across the Tatra mountains on the Slovakia-Poland border to transport information into Nazi-occupied Poland. She met a tragic end in 1952, when she was stabbed to death by a spurned admirer. She was buried with many awards including French Croix de Guerre and the British George Medal for Special Services. Nancy Wake: The White Mouse Keystone/Getty Images Nancy Wake: The White Mouse This New Zealand-born Allied spy was so elusive that the Gestapo dubbed her “the White Mouse” and put a large bounty on her head — but they never caught her. Wake was living in Marseille with her French-industrialist husband when Hitler’s army took France in 1940; she soon joined the Resistance, acting as a courier and helping detainees and refugees escape the country. She was eventually forced to flee to England where she trained with the British Special Operations Executive. Her husband was killed by the Gestapo in France when he refused to reveal her whereabouts. Wake returned to France in 1944, parachuting in to coordinate guerrilla attacks with resistance fighters. After the war, she was honored by the French, British, and U.S. governments. She died in London in 2011, at 98. Violette Szabo: Captured by the Gestapo Keystone/Getty Images Violette Szabo: Captured by the Gestapo Born in France and raised in France and England, Szabo joined the British Special Operations Executive after her husband was killed in action at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Northern Egypt in 1942. She was captured by the Gestapo in France 1944, interrogated, tortured, and executed at the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in 1945. She was posthumously awarded the George Cross, a British decoration for "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger." In 1958, the story of her life was made into a film, "Carve Her Name with Pride." Virginia Hall: The Limping Lady Apic/RETIRED/Getty Images Virginia Hall: The Limping Lady Virginia Hall, regarded by the Gestapo as "the most dangerous of all Allied spies," was an American who served with the British during WWII. A former employee of the U.S. State Department, Hall was living in France when the Germans invaded in 1940, and she briefly volunteered as an ambulance driver before making her way to London, where she joined the Special Operations Executive. She soon returned to France, where she recruited resistance fighters and assisted escaped POWs while maintaining her cover as a New York Post reporter. Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo’s “Butcher of Lyon,” was soon on her trail, forcing her to flee France over the Pyrenees mountains into Spain. Hall's heavy wooden leg — the result of a 1930s hunting accident and the source of her nickname, "The Limping Lady" — slowed but didn't stop her. After the war, back home in America, she continued working for the CIA until her retirement in 1966. Ethel Rosenberg: Spy, Accomplice, Accessory? UniversalImagesGroup/Getty Images Ethel Rosenberg: Spy, Accomplice, Accessory? Ethel Rosenberg and her husband Julius were controversially executed in 1953 by the U.S. for their roles in a plot to transmit classified information about the atomic bomb to the USSR during World War II. The Rosenbergs were Jews and Communists, and many regarded them as victims of anti-Semitic and anti-communist hysteria: Picasso wrote that their execution would be "a crime against humanity," and Pope Pius XII unsuccessfully petitioned Eisenhower to grant them clemency. The current consensus seems to be that Julius was indeed a spy, while Ethel was merely an accessory. The husband and wife are still the only U.S. citizens to be executed for espionage. Ursula Kuczynski: Atomic Spy ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images Ursula Kuczynski: Atomic Spy A woman of many aliases, Kucyznski, aka Ruth Werner, codename "Sonja," was a German communist who was recruited by the USSR's Main Intelligence Directorate, the GRU, when she was living in China in the 1930s. In 1941, living near Oxford, England, she began working with the physicist Klaus Fuchs to transmit atomic secrets to Moscow. Fuchs confessed to espionage in 1950, and served nine years of a 14-year sentence. Kuczynski, meanwhile, returned to Germany. She died in Berlin in 2000.
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