NetherlandsWhen he spotted a Nazi soldier torturing a newborn baby, Truus Oversteegen silently held up his gun and shot him dead.
Oversteegen was just a teenager under the age of 17 when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. She became a member of the Dutch resistance movement, tasked with hiding Jews, dissidents and homosexuals in shelter houses in Haarlem, nearly 20 km west of Amsterdam. .
Freddie Oversteegen (right) and Hannie Schaft. Image: North Holland Archives.
Truus and his 14-year-old sister Freddie and law student Hannie Schaft, 19, were girls who took on a secret role to weaken Nazi Germany during World War II. While the women participating in the resistance movement mainly spied, deciphered and typed, few dared to take on the work of this trio: underground assassins.
The three young women put on heavy makeup, painted bright red lipstick on bars that seduced Nazi soldiers and lured them to their deaths. Hannie taught himself German to serve the job. Beautiful and feminine with red hair and milky skin, she easily “defeated” the Nazis. She asked them to go to the forest to go on a date and Hannie’s male teammates ambushed him to finish.
The girls are also good at using guns and easily knocking down targets while cycling. In addition to German soldiers, they also targeted the Dutch in collusion with the Nazis.
After the war ended, the sisters Truus and Freddie refused to give specific figures on the number of targets they had finished. “You never ask a soldier how many enemies he kills,” the sisters said.
“After the war, they were depressed and often had nightmares,” said Sophie Poldermans, author of a book about a trio of female assassins.
“I was not born to kill,” Truus told Poldermans. “After each attack, I often fainted or collapsed in tears.”
In addition to destroying Nazi soldiers, Hannie also sabotaged military facilities, bombed power lines and weapons trains. The sisters Oversteegen worked closely with Hannie in a group of seven passionate and persistent warriors. However, they refused to take action when their superiors ordered the abduction of the children of senior Nazi officials.
“We only fight against real fascists, not children,” Truus said.
They inflicted so much damage and killed so many Nazis that Hannie became a Nazi wanted target, known as the “red-haired girl”. Fascist boss Adolf Hitler himself ordered to arrest her.
Truus Oversteegen. Image: North Holland Archives.
Hannie dyed her hair black and wore glasses when she hid. Even when the Nazis imprisoned her parents for pressure, Hannie still did not surrender. Her family was eventually released when the Nazis found that they really did not know their daughter.
Hannie was unfortunately arrested in March 1945, when distributing anti-fascist newspapers at a Nazi checkpoint. German soldiers did not initially know that Hannie was the wanted target, because she dyed her hair black, but her identity gradually became exposed as they detained and tortured her in prison. She was executed on April 17, 1945, only 18 days before the liberation of the Netherlands.
Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower presents Hannie the Order of Freedom. Truus was honored in Jerusalem for protecting the Jews. She and Freddie were awarded the 2014 Mobilization Medal by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.
Truus died in 2016 at the age of 92 and Freddie died two years later, also at the age of 92. The sisters always remember the story of Hannie’s tenacity on the day of execution that police and witnesses told. .
When the first shot missed, Hannie stared at the soldier who executed her with steady eyes. “Idiot, I shoot better than you,” she said.
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