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Hilda Krüger pudo haber sido una Marlene Dietrich, pero la vida la llevó a encarnar a Mata Hari. Photo: Infobae.
Hilda Krüger could have been a Marlene Dietrich, but life led her to play Mata Hari. Photo: Infobae.

Hilda Krüger, the Nazi spy who romanced Mexican elites

Backed by Hitler's Propaganda Minister Goebbels, the German actress whom Hollywood never loved was sent to Mexico to rally support for the invasion of the USSR.

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Hilda Krüger could have been a Marlene Dietrich, but neither in her native Germany nor in the Hollywood of the 1930s was there anyone to appreciate her talent on stage, even though she married influential American businessmen in her run to success. 

So Hilda had to come to terms with the fact that she was born a crashed star rather than a star, although there were those who did value her, the rising Nazi party. 

"She was a bad actress and had mediocre roles. Goebbels promoted her at the time. She went to the United States with his permission to play minor roles, but then it was decided that her role was more important in Mexico," historian Alberto Cedillo, author of Vida y obra de una espía nazi en México (The Life and Work of a Nazi Spy in Mexico), told the BBC.

Playing the role of "patriot", which she was rather better at, Krüger, a beauty at the time, landed in the Latin American country with a very clear mission imposed by the Nazis:

Obtain the support of Mexican political elites so that Germany could gain access to the country's abundant oil and other natural resources that could be essential to invade the Soviet Union by land.

The best role of her life

Hilda Krüger managed to charm several secretaries of state and influential political and economic figures with her beauty and people skills.

"She obtained favors for access to strategic resources such as mercury. In this way, he helped to generate smuggling in favor of Germany. He also passed on military information about the movements of the United States," says Cedillo.

The historian also points out that the spy knew how to play dumb and played the role of a blonde with authorities and businessmen, but "she was very intelligent" and managed to climb to the highest levels in her search for favors for the Third Reich, especially among the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

While Mexico established connections with the Nazis through Hilda Krüger, many other Latin American countries did not allow Hitler's men access to their resources.

But why Mexico? Was it only the conviction, beauty and charisma of an actress-turned-Nazi ambassador?

Mexican resentment of the United States after the mid-19th century invasion and the American and British boycott of its hydrocarbon wealth played into Hitler's expansionist plans. And in this context, Hilda Krüger, who could have been the "blue angel", turned the mythical phrase of her fellow Marlene Dietrich on its head:

"In politics you have to heal wrongs, never avenge them." And also: "I am a bad influence."

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