14. Maspeth resident Lucy Boehmler was a notable German spy
On the Queens-Brooklyn border, a German spy ring called “Joe K” operated in the leadup to World War II. It was led by Kurt Frederick Ludwig, and one of the co-conspirators included Lucy Boehmler, a Maspeth resident who had recently graduated from Grover Cleveland High School. The spy ring transmitted to Germany “documents, writings, sketches, photographs, negatives, plans, maps, notes and other information concerning the national defense.” Boehmler was Ludwig’s secretary while attending business school.
Boehmler had the nickname “The Maspeth Mata Hari” for using her innocence and sweet-talk to learn secrets. Boehmler testified against her co-conspirators, though all were convicted. Ludwig got 20 years in prison, while Boehmler received just five years. It is unknown exactly what happened to Boehmler and the other co-conspirators after they were released from prison, though many went on to live low-key lives, unlike later spies who were executed.