Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Malaysian History: Banda Gertrude ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Malaysian History: Banda Gertrude
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: mizkreant-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 01 Aug 2002 07:08 PDT
Expires: 31 Aug 2002 07:08 PDT
Question ID: 48003
What offline resources (books, articles, etc.) are available regarding
an historical figure by the name of Banda Gertrude?

Here's what I know:  She was an illegitimate daughter of Mata Hari,
was an Eurasian (of mixed European and Asian ancestry) and fought for
Malaysian independance.
Subject: Re: Malaysian History: Banda Gertrude
Answered By: huntsman-ga on 01 Aug 2002 21:25 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

What a fascinating story: I'll confess that I got caught up in this
little-known subject.

To set the stage, let's start with a quick review of Mata Hari's life.
Born in Holland in 1876, her maiden name was "Margarete Gertrude
Zelle" (or "Margaretha Geertruida Zelle"). She was also known by the
nicknames "M'greet" and "Gerda". Her father was a well-to-do hatmaker
who later lost his money in the stock market when Margarete was a

After surviving a high school scandal, Margarete, 17, married Rudolph
MacLeod, 38, a Dutch military officer, in Holland on July 11, 1895. He
served at various times and places in the Dutch East Indies (today's
Indonesia). Their first child was a boy: Norman John MacLeod, born
January 30, 1897 (or possibly 1896) in Leeuwarden, Holland.

For a new military assignment, MacLeod moved his family to Abawara on
the island of Java (the second largest island in the Indonesian chain,
hosting the present city of Jakarta). The MacLeod's second child was a
girl: Jeanne Louise Macleod, born May 2, 1898. Her Malaysian nickname
was "Non".

The MacLeods moved to Sumatra where, tragically, both young children
were poisoned by persons unknown on the night of June 27, 1899. Norman
died, but Jeanne survived. The three remaining MacLeods went back to
Holland soon afterwards.

Their marriage failing, Rudolph & Margarete separated and finally
divorced in 1906. Margarete moved to Paris in 1905 and started her
exotic dancing career under the assumed name of "Mata Hari". With an
imaginative background story, and a costume that left little to the
imagination, she became an overnight sensation. She remained a
celebrated dancer for several years, then became a courtesan to the
rich and famous.

During World War I, Mata was suspected of being a spy due to her many
affairs with men in different countries. Recruited by the French to
spy on the Germans, her intrigues left many unsure of her actual
loyalties. She was finally arrested by the French, was convicted of
spying for the Germans, and was executed by a firing squad on October
15, 1917 in Vincennes, France.

Mata's daughter Jeanine died in 1919 at the age of 21 while planning a
voyage back to the Dutch East Indies. Traditionally, this is the end
of Mata Hari's story.

However, there have been rumors that Mata -- then Margarete -- had an
affair while she was in the Dutch East Indies which produced an
Eurasian daughter named "Banda". Ironically, Banda went on to suffer a
fate similar to that of her infamous mother:

   About Spies
   The Most Famous Woman Spy Ever?

"...some people claim that a Javanese woman called Banda was Mata
Hari's illegitimate daughter. She certainly had a more successful
spying career, and the same fate. She spied for the Japanese after
their invasion of Java in 1941, but was really an Allied double agent,
spied for Indonesian nationalists after the war, and then worked for
the Americans in North Korea in 1950 where she was recognised by a
Chinese paid Indonesian, was arrested and shot."

There is a 1973 book that mentions Banda Gertrude and her role as a

   The Master Book of Spies
   Donald McCormick
   Hodder Causton Ltd. (1973)

A search on ABEBooks.Com (
lists 42 copies of this book available for $4.00 to about $29.00. You
may also be able to find it at a local libary.

Several paragraphs from the book can be read online:

   How To Be A Spy

The lengthy quotes give some backgound information about "Banda
Gertrud". Here's a summary:

   - A 1952 report (not referenced) says Banda was Mata Hari's
   - Banda thought of herself as Eurasian.
   - She was 17 and living in Batavia, Java's capital when she learned
     of her mother's execution. She then changed her name (see below).
   - When Japan occupied Java in World War II, she became a spy for
     Indonesian resistance and the Allies.
   - After WWII, she married a Malaysian who believed in the Communist
     fight for independence from British rule.
   - She persuaded him the British were right and would support
     Malaysian independence. They switched sides and gave
     information to the British.
   - Banda went to Washington and spoke in favor of the British fight
     against Communism in Malaysia.
   - During the Korean War, she went into North Korea on a spy
     and like her famous mother over thity years earlier, was captured
     and shot.

There also is an online Indonesian article about Mata Hari that
contains a shorter account. While the article is similar to Donald
McCormick's 1973 book, it gives several different names that Banda
Gertrude was also known by:

   "Banda Gertrud" (without an "e")
   "Banda MacLeod"
   "Margarida Gertrud Zelle" (very similar to her mother's maiden
   "Wilhelmina Vandereen" 

You can see the entire article here (in Indonesian):

   Mata Hari, mata-mata penakluk lelaki,4228,00.html

Banda's story is in the last four paragraphs. We can roughly translate
these Indonesian paragraphs into English using an online translator:

   ArcNet Text Translation

After editing the rough English translation and comparing it to what
we already know, Banda's story reads something like this:

"Several years after the death of Mata Hari, a woman named Banda
MacLeod, alias Margarida Gertrud Zelle, alias Banda Gertrud, alias
Wilhelmina Vandereen, takes revenge. The daughter of Mata Hari,
Margarida stays in Batavia [Java's capital city, now called Jakarta]
as a spy when Japan occupies Java [in World War II]. She listens
closely to whoever comes to her parties and passes this information on
to Indonesian resistance fighters and the Allies.

After WWII, Margarida falls in love with a Malaysian freedom fighter
named Sulaiman, who believes that the best way for Malaysia to gain
independence from Britain is by supporting the Communists. Margarida
convinces her husband that he is wrong and they later fight for
Malaysian independence by giving anti-communist information to

She also goes to Washington and persuades the Americans that the war
in Malaysia is not merely about English oppression, and that
independence can be gained just as quickly by persuading Malaka
[Malaysia's capital city and government] to support England.

Her husband was eventually killed by Communists in Malaysia, and the
end of Margarida's life was not much different than her mother's. It
was reported that she was executed by a firing squad after being
caught during a mission."

Banda's life was largely overshadowed by that of her mother, and her
actions took place in a remote area of the World (at least to those of
us in the West). Consequently, there aren't that many references to
her on the Web.

There are two references to "Banda Gertrud" in newsgroup messages. One
of them mentions that Banda also had the name "Juana-Luisa", but I
think she is being confused with Mata Hari's first daughter, who died
in 1919.

The second newsgroup post states the following:

   Subject: Re: Mata Hari-2 Clans??? 

"Factoid from the Whole Spy Catalog by Richard L. Knudsen:  Mata
Hari's daughter was also executed for spying. The daughter changed her
name to Banda Gertrud. During WW2, she spied in Java and Malaysia. 
Eventually she became a British supporter, and was shot for this in
Korea in 1952."

Here's the book reference mentioned in the post :

   The Whole Spy Catalog: An Espionage Lover's Guide
   Richard Knudson
   The Saint Martin's Press, 1986

A search on ABEBooks.Com (
lists one copy for $6.50. Check your local libraries also.

"Banda Gertrud" is also mentioned in the following book:

   The French Secret Service
   Richard Deacon
   Grafton Books, London 1990 
   ISBN# 0-586-20673-6

A search on ABEBooks.Com (
lists 8 copies ranging in price from $6.00 to $20.00. Check your local

Although many results can be found for "Mata Hari" on the following
major book sites, there were no results for "Banda Gertrude" or "Banda

   ABE Books

   AddAll Book Search

   Amazon Books

I also tried major library searches for books with title references to
"Banda Gertrude" or "Banda Gertrud", but had only minor success. These
searches included:

   Library of Congress

   OCLC WorldCat*

*NOTE: WorldCat is a worldwide database of library holdings that is
available through many public libraries. Check with your local library
to see if you can access it online.

"InfoTrac" is a set of Gale Group databases offered online or in-house
by many public libraries. A search on InfoTrac's "Biography and
Geneaology Master Index" did result in the following periodical

   Gertrude Banda 

   Biography Index. 
   A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines.
   Volume 19: September, 1993 - August, 1994. 
   New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1994. 

According to H.W. Wilson (, Biography
Index "is a bibliographic database that cites biographical material
appearing in periodicals indexed in other Wilson Company databases and
additional selected periodicals, current books of individual and
collective biography, and incidental biographical material in
otherwise non-biographical books. Periodicals indexed are selected
from all subject areas represented by other Wilson Company databases.
Biographical subjects indexed range from antiquity to the present and
represent all fields and nationalities."

Sounds pretty thorough. They don't have references available online,
so you will need to check with your local library for a back copy of
the issue cited above.

Searches in InfoTrac's other databases, including "OneFile", "General
Reference Center Gold", "Expanded Academic ASAP", and "National
Newspaper Index" gave no results.

I also looked, without any success, in major biographical Web sites

Biography Center


Biographical Dictionary

InfoPlease - Biography



I even searched the CIA's Web site, but nothing. Of all people!

Banda Gertrud certainly was a brave woman: your question has helped
make us all aware of her unique life.

Thank you,

P.S. - "Banda" most likely took her name from a small group of islands
in an Indonesian sea of the same name. Also known as the the "Spice
Islands", they were colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century for the
production of nutmeg and mace. The islands' history, too, has been
marked by strife and war, right up to present times:

   The Columbia Encyclopedia
   Banda Islands

   The Banda-Islands

   Spice Islands Archaeology Project

Additional References - 
Mata Hara biographies and history:

   The Crime Library
   All About Mata Hari

   Espionage - Spy

   Mata Hari

   Famous Females
   Women in Espionage

Search Terms & Google Results - 

While you originally suggested looking for the name "Banda Gertrude",
I came up with zero results, even on Google. However, a search for
"Banda Gertrud" (without the "e") was a little more productive, but
still only gave three relevant results.

   "banda gertrude"

   "banda gertrud"

   "banda gertrud"

   "mata hari"

   "mata hari" daughter banda
mizkreant-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you, you did a very thorough job.  I'm quite impressed.  I
certainly got my money's worth.

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy