Hi everyone! Today’s Badass Women in History post is about a pair of sisters who were teenagers and ASSASSINS. Yep, that’s right. These girls were resistance fighters during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands… AS TEENAGERS!
Truus and Freddie Oversteegen were sisters born in 1925 and 1927, respectively. They were born in the Netherlands and were raised by a single mother who identified as communist. She taught her daughters from an early age that injustice should not be tolerated, and they should fight it at any cost. When the Nazis began their occupation of the Netherlands, they hid Jewish refugees in their home. Truus and Freddie also joined their mother in distributing anti-Nazi literature, which could have been deadly had they been caught.
In 1941, the Dutch resistance approached Freddie and Truus’s mother and asked to recruit them. Their young age meant officials wouldn’t expect them to be working for the Resistance. Once their mother consented, they were told what they’d actually be doing: compromising bridges and railways… and shooting Nazis and their Dutch allies. At the beginning, they would seduce Nazi soldiers and lure them into the woods where other resistance fighters were waiting to shoot and bury them. When they were a little older, the girls were sent out on their own to assassinate Nazi collaborators who arrested Jewish refugees and other Resistance fighters. Freddie was always counted on to be a lookout, because she looked so young that no one would suspect her. The girls both became trained assassins, but they never told anyone how many men they had “liquidated;” anyone who asked was told that “soldiers don’t say.”
In 1943, they joined forces with Hannie Schaft, a former university student who dropped out because she refused to pledge her loyalty to Germany. Together the three formed their own sabotage and assassination cell. The three became very close, and the Oversteegen sisters were devastated when Hannie was arrested and executed just 3 weeks before the war ended; the executioner’s first bullet only wounded her and Hannie –being the badass that she was- taunted him saying “I’m a better shot,” before the second bullet found its mark.
Once the war was over, the young sisters had difficulty readjusting to life after the horrors of what they did. Truus dove into art, becoming a sculptor and author, while Freddie coped by getting married and starting a family. For most of their lives, the Oversteegen sisters went unrecognized, forgotten because they were written off as communists. It took until 2014 for them to get credit for their contributions to the war effort,and they were awarded the Mobilisation War Cross in the Netherlands. Both of the sisters passed away at the age of 92 (Truus in 2016 and Freddie in 2018.)
Strong women raised by a strong woman… HELL YEAH! That is one thing I want to instill in my daughter: to fight for those who can’t. To be an advocate instead of standing by while others are mistreated. Did you know about these ladies? I didn’t, but in my research I heard that there’s supposed to be a movie being made about Hannie Schaft starring GoT’s khaleesi, Emilia Clarke. While that’s something I’d definitely be into, I don’t think that’s happening any time soon.
Thanks for reading, and until next time!