Richard, Marthe

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Name
Richard, Marthe Gender: F
Marthe Betenfeld
born on 15 April 1889 at 23:00 (= 11:00 PM )
Place Blâmont, France, 48n35, 6e51
Timezone LMT m6e51 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 26°08' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 26°16 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 12°55'



Biography

French prostitute and spy, who later became a politician and worked towards the closing of brothels in France in 1946.

In Nancy, she became an apprentice to a tailor at fourteen, but later was registered as a prostitute in 1905. After a soldier accused her of giving him syphilis, she was forced to leave for Paris, where she met Henry Richer in 1907. He was a rich industrialist who worked at Les Halles. In 1912, he bought himself a plane and she flew it for the first time in 1913. In 1914, she participated in the founding of L'Union patriotique des aviatrices françaises ("Patriotic Union of French Women Aviators"). She married Richer on 13 April 1915.

Her husband died in World War I in 1916. She became a spy under Captain Georges Ladoux thanks to her lover, a young Russian anarchist. As part of her duties, she became the mistress of von Krohn, the Naval Attaché of the German Navy in Madrid. On their return to France, she discovered that Captain Ladoux was a double agent and he was placed under arrest.

She married Thomas Crompton in 1926. He was the financial director for the Rockefeller Foundation and patron of the restoration of the Petit Trianon. When he died unexpectedly in 1928 in Genève, she moved to Bougival and lived very well.

After being released from prison and restored to the post of commander, Captain Ladoux published his fictionalized Memoires in 1930. The volume about Richard, Marthe Richard, spy in the French service, was mostly an invention. She claimed half of the vast royalties and accepted the advice to write her own memoirs. Under the pseudonym of Richard she published the best seller, My life as a spy in the French service (adapted as a film in 1937) and instantly became a heroine of France. Under media pressure, her lover Édouard Herriot, French Prime Minister at the time, gave the widowed Mme Crompton the Légion d'honneur for Foreign Affairs.

In 1945, now famous as the "heroine of two wars," she was elected to the municipal council of the 4th arrondissement of Paris on the MRP ticket. When the MRP wanted to outlaw prostitution, she tried to convince the municipal council, but they refused. Then on 13 December 1945, she presented her plan for the closing of brothels in the IVe arrondissement. The proposition was passed, and they were closed within three months. Encouraged, Marthe Richard began a campaign to end prostitution in all of France.

In 1946, a bill, now known as La loi Marthe Richard, was passed with the votes of an alliance of the Christian democrat MRP and the Communists, and on 13 April 1946, the prostitution registry was destroyed and 1,400 brothels were closed, including 180 in Paris. Many brothels were converted into hotels, which prostitutes continued to use. Prostitution was still legal, though many acts surrounding it were made illegal.

A controversy surrounding her nationality came up in 1948. She was English by her marriage to Thomas Crompton (her repatriation was denied in 1937). Thus, her election was illegal as were the votes she had participated in.

Meanwhile, the director of Le Crapouillot, Jean Galtier-Boissière denounced her services to the nation, accusing her of involvement with organized crime, of smuggling jewels, and of covering up crimes. The inspector of national safety, Jacques Delarue, a specialist in false heroes of war, inquired into the accusations, and found them to be false in 1954.

She died in Paris on 9 February 1982, aged 92.

Link to Wikipedia biography

Relationships

Events

  • Relationship : Marriage 13 April 1915 (Henri Louis Emile Marie Joseph Richer)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Mate 1916 (Henri Richer)
  • Relationship : Marriage 15 April 1926 (Thomas Crompton)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Mate 1928 (Thomas Crompton)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1935 (Autobiography, "My life as a spy in the French service")

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield forwarded birth certificate (acte n°7) from the online Meurthe-et-Moselle departmental archives, image 340/373. Marriage data in margin. Her twin sister, Berthe, was born at 11:30pm (acte n°8).

Categories

  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
  • Personal : Birth : Twin, triplet, etc. (Twin)
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 92)
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political
  • Vocation : Politics : Public office
  • Vocation : Sex Business : Prostitute/ Pimp
  • Vocation : Travel : Pilot/ private
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer ("My life as a spy in the French service")
  • Notable : Awards : Public Service (Légion d'honneur for Foreign Affairs)