When she was just 14, Freddie Oversteegen left her home in the Netherlands to join a Dutch resistance group where she was taught how to shoot Nazis.
It was 1940, and Freddie — along with her sister Truus and Hannie Schaft — soon became an integral part of the Dutch Resistance and developed an unusual method for catching the enemy off guard.
The group’s youthful looks, particularly Freddie’s as the youngest of the three, allowed them to interact with the guards without raising suspicion and lull them into a false sense of security.
Freddie died earlier this month, on September 5, 2018, a day before her 93rd birthday. She was never as well known as Truus and Hannie, but her efforts helped saved the lives of countless Jewish people during World War II.
Born in 1925, Freddie was brought up with a strong belief in fighting for justice as she and her sister were raised by their single, working-class mother in Haarlem, a city near Amsterdam.
Their mum considered herself a communist and before the war broke out, she hid Jewish refugees from Amsterdam and Germany in the hull of a boat they used to live on. She later did the same in their family home.
“Before the war started in the Netherlands, we had some people from Lithuania hidden in the hold of the ship,” she said in an interview with Vice in 2016.
“And during the war we had a Jewish couple living with us, which is why my sister and I knew a lot about what was going on.”
When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the girls joined their mother in plastering anti-Nazi posters across the town and warning men not to work in Germany, an act they could have been killed for if they were caught.
When they invaded, it was the first time Freddie experienced the horror of the Hitler movement first-hand.
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