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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Gabrielle Petit

b. 1893, Tournai, Belgium; d. 1916, Brussels

The Belgian woman Gabrielle Petit was a spy who worked with the British Secret Service during World War I. She collected information about enemy troop movements using a number of false identities. Her espionage activities began in 1914, when she helped her fiancé, who had been wounded as a soldier, cross the border into the Netherlands to be reunited with his regiment. She conveyed information acquired during the trip to British Intelligence, which soon hired her. Petit was captured by the German army in February 1916 and executed two months later. After her death, a monument honoring her service to Belgium was erected in Brussels.