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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Madame H,’ suspected German spy, arrested

 (The Spokesman-Review archives)
(The Spokesman-Review archives)

California authorities arrested Mrs. Elizabeth Guistorf, suspected of being the mysterious Madame H, part of an alleged German spy ring with a Spokane connection.

She admitted that she knew Frank Schulenberg, the alleged “German master spy” who tried to establish a colony of spies north of Spokane. Schulenberg was recently arrested in California with a ton of dynamite, which authorities believed he intended to use on Canadian bridges.

Authorities said she fit the descriptions they had of the shadowy woman spy, who was supposedly directing Schulenberg’s operation. However, Mrs. Guistorf stoutly denied she was Madame H.

As time went on, other Madame H suspects would surface, but authorities never got to the bottom of this mystery.

From the food beat: A letter writer to The Spokesman-Review witnessed someone delivering 20 sacks of flour to a neighbor’s house. The letter writer asked whether it was legal “to hoard foodstuffs” during the war.

The paper answered this question by quoting the federal food control law, which specified that hoarding food could be punished by a fine of $5,000 and jail sentence of up to two years.

The definition of hoarding was, essentially, keeping more food than could be used or consumed “for a reasonable time.”


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