Janet Dean

Spying in World War I

In 1914 Margriet Ballegeer, a young women from Contich, near Antwerp, joined the resistance in order to help sabotage the German occupation of Belgium throughout the war. Despite the danger, Margriet, aged only 24, joined the local resistance group and later became part of a wider network of spies run by the British Intelligence Service from Rotterdam. She stole identity papers and passports from the town hall where her father was Chief of Police, and using these, she was able to help young men escape Belgium and join the Allies. Margriet acted as a courier for the resistance group, using the cover of her shop to pass on messages and vital pieces of intelligence. First arrested in 1915 and charged with forging documents, Margriet spent six months in prison, but on her release remained committed to the cause, again joining a larger resistance group. In 1917, Margriet was arrested for a second time and interrogated by the Germans after being betrayed by one of their recruits. This time she was charged for spying and sentenced to death This is her story.
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