This woman had some stories to tell her grandchildren. We love it!
Ninety-year-old Freddie Oversteegen was one of the few women that were active in the Dutch resistance during WWII – along with her sister Truus and the famous Hannie Schaft, who was killed just before the end of the war. When Freddie was 14 years old, a gentleman visited her family home to ask her mother if she would allow her daughters to join the resistance – no one would suspect two young girls of being resistance fighters, he argued.
And he was right. The Oversteegen sisters would flirt with Nazi collaborators under false pretences and then lead them into the woods, where instead of a make-out session, the men would be greeted with a bullet.
Hannie Schaft went on to become world famous: A feature film was made about ‘The girl with the red hair’ and she was (re)buried with honours in the presence of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, while over 15 cities in the Netherlands have street named after her. Truus Oversteegen made a name for herself after the war as a public speaker at war memorial services and as an artist. Her little sister Freddie never got that much recognition for her participation in the resistance, until Dutch filmmaker Thijs Zeeman decided to make her and her sister the subject of his latest TV documentary, Two Sisters in the Resistance.
I went to see Freddie on the 4th of May – the annual Remembrance Day in the Netherlands – to ask what it’s like to seduce and kill nazis.
VICE: Hi Freddie. I understand we don’t have a lot of time for the interview.
Freddie Oversteegen: That’s right. I’m meeting some people to play Scrabble at two. I do that twice a week. You can’t let people down if you’ve agreed to join.
What do you think about during the two minutes of silence?
Nothing, I just shut off my thoughts completely. And then I think about the fact that a lot of people have fallen. I remember how people were taken from their homes. The Germans were banging on doors with the butts of their rifles – that made so much noise, you’d hear it in the entire neighbourhood. And they would always yell – it was very frightening.
You were 14 when you and your sister Truus – who was 16 at the time – were asked to fight in the resistance. Did your mother agree right away?
A man wearing a hat came to the door and asked my mother if he could ask us. And he did, so yes, she was okay with it.
Where was your father?
My mother had divorced him, which was pretty unusual for that time. She was just fed up one day – we lived on a large ship in Haarlem but my father never made any money and didn’t pay anything for the barge. But it wasn’t an ugly divorce or anything – he sang a French farewell song from the bow of the ship when we left. He loved us, but I didn’t see him that often anymore after that.
What was your role in that mission?
I didn’t shoot him – one of the men did. I had to keep an eye on my sister and keep a lookout from a vantage point in the woods to see if no one was coming. Truus had met him in an expensive bar, seduced him and then took him for a walk in the woods. She was like: “Want to go for a stroll?” And of course he wanted to. Then they ran into someone – which was made to seem a coincidence, but he was one of ours – and that friend said to Truus: “Girl, you know you’re not supposed to be here.” They apologised, turned around, and walked away. And then shots were fired, so that man never knew what hit him. They had already dug the hole, but we weren’t allowed to be there for that part.