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The MI5 files: Failure of the scarlet woman.

A Second World War Mata Hari was sent to England to set up a high level espionage operation from a top London hotel.

Vera Erikson, one of the few women agents to try to follow in the footsteps of the famous First World War German spy, claimed she had landed in Britain with the intention of gaining information from officers staying at the famous Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane.

But the hapless 28-year-old, a former ballet dancer of Russian origin said to have trained with Pavlova, never managed to fulfil her plan as she was captured along with two accomplices coming ashore in Scotland in September 1940.

A string of lovers, including her accomplice in England, painted a picture of a scarlet woman who relied on her charm and skills of deception to do her job, according to her MI5 file.

Erikson, who claimed she was going insane and would see her husband at night sitting covered in blood on her bed, was eventually returned to Germany after being imprisoned throughout the war.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 27, 1999
Words:173
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