Freddie Oversteegen Essay Example
Freddie Oversteegen was only 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance during warfare II and only a pair of years maturer, she comes to be one among its armed assassins. Along with her sister—and later, a girl named Hannie Schaft— the trio lured, ambushed, and killed German Nazis and their Dutch collaborators.
Freddie and her sister Truus, who endure two years maturer, grew up within the city of Haarlem with one working-class mother. Their mother considered herself a communist and demonstrated to her daughters the importance of combating injustice. When Europe was on the brink of war in 1939, she received Jewish refugees into their homes.
Through their mother’s example, Freddie and Truus “learned that if you've got to assist somebody, like refugees, you have got to form sacrifices for yourself,” says Jeroen Pliester, chair of the National Hannie Schaft Foundation. “I think that was one in all the most drivers for them, the leading moral principle and preparedness of their mother to act when it really matters.”
Then in May 1940, Nazis invaded The Netherlands, developing an occupation that lasted until the top of the war. In response, the ladies rejoined their mother in distributing anti-Nazi newspapers and pamphlets for the resistance.
“We also glued warnings across German posters within the street proclaiming men to figure in Germany,” Freddie later recalled in interviews she and her sister did with anthropologist Ellis Jonker, collected within the book Under Fire: Women and warfare II. “And then we’d hurry off, on our bikes.”
These acts were not just subversive, they were equally risky. If the Nazis or Dutch police followed the sisters, they may have slain them. However, the very fact that they were both young girls—and Freddie looked even younger when she wore braids— meant that officials were less likely to suspect them of working for the resistance. This may well be one of the explanations why, in 1941, a commander with the Haarlem Resistance Group visited their house to inquire their mother if he could recruit Freddie and Truus.
Their mother consented and therefore the sisters agreed to hitch. “Purely later did he inform us what we’d barely possess to perform: sabotage bridges and railway lines,” Truus told Jonker. “‘And learn to shoot, to execute Nazis,’ he added. I remember my sister saying: ‘Expertly, that’s something I’ve under no circumstances performed in advance!’”
In a minimum of one instance, Truus seduced an SS officer into the woods, so someone from the resistance could wound him. because the commander who recruited them had said, Freddie and Truus learned to injure Nazis too, and the sisters began to travel on assassination missions by themselves. Later, they focused on killing Dutch collaborators who arrested or endangered Jewish refugees and resistance members.
“They were unusual, these girls,” says Bas von Benda-Beckmann, a former researcher at the Netherlands’ Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.“There were plenty of girls involved within the resistance within the Netherlands but not such a lot within the way these girls were. There don't seem to be that several samples of women who actually shot collaborators themselves.”
On these missions, Freddie was especially good at following a target or keeping a lookout during missions since she looked so young and unsuspecting. Both sisters shot to kill, but they never revealed what percentage Nazis and Dutch collaborators they assassinated. Per Pliester, Freddie would tell those that asked that she and her sister were soldiers, and soldiers do not say.
Consequently, we do not have too many details about how their “liquidations,” as they called them, played out. Benda-Beckmann says that sometimes they would follow a target to his house to kill him or ambush them on their bikes.
Their other duties within the Haarlem Resistance Group included “bringing Jewish [refugees] to a brand-new place, working within the emergency hospital in Enschede… [and] berating the railway line between Ijmuiden and Haarlem,” writes Jonker. In 1943, they joined forces with another woman, Hannie Schaft.
Hannie was a former collegian who dropped out because she refused to sign a pledge of loyalty to Germany. Together, the three young women formed sabotage and assassination cell. Hannie became their relief, and therefore the sisters were devastated when Nazis arrested and killed her in 1945, just three weeks before the war led to Europe. The continent with lore, Hannie’s last words were, “I’m a far better shot,” after initially only being wounded by her executioner.
After the war, the sisters addressed the trauma of killing people and losing their succor. Truus created sculptures, and later spoke and wrote about their time within the resistance. Freddie coped with \" by getting married and having babies,” as she told VICE Netherlands in 2016. But the experience of war still caused her insomnia. In another interview, Freddie recalled seeing an individual she had shot fall to the bottom and having the human impulse to require assisting him.
“We didn't feel it suited us,” Truss told Jonker of their assassinations.“It never suits anybody, unless they're real criminals.”
Both women died at age 92—Truus in 2016 and Freddie on September 5, 2018, in some unspecified time in the future before she turned 93. Throughout much of their long lives, the Kingdom of The Netherlands did not properly recognize the women’s achievements and sidelined them as communists. In 2014, they finally received national recognition for his or her service to their country by receiving the Mobilisatie-Oorlogskruis or “War Mobilization Cross.”