An astonishing World War II story of a trio of fearless female resisters whose youth and innocence belied their extraordinary daring in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. It also made them the underground’s most invaluable commodity.
May 10, 1940. The Netherlands was swarming with Third Reich troops. In seven days it’s entirely occupied by Nazi Germany. Joining a small resistance cell in the Dutch city of Haarlem were three teenage girls: Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen who would soon band together to form a singular female underground squad.
Smart, fiercely political, devoted solely to the cause, and “with nothing to lose but their own lives,” Hannie, Truus, and Freddie took terrifying direct action against Nazi targets. That included sheltering fleeing Jews, political dissidents, and Dutch resisters. They sabotaged bridges and railways, and donned disguises to lead children from probable internment in concentration camps to safehouses. They covertly transported weapons and set military facilities ablaze. And they carried out the assassinations of German soldiers and traitors–on public streets and in private traps–with the courage of veteran guerilla fighters and the cunning of seasoned spies.
In telling this true story through the lens of a fearlessly unique trio of freedom fighters, Tim Brady offers a fascinating perspective of the Dutch resistance during the war. Of lives under threat; of how these courageous young women became involved in the underground; and of how their dedication evolved into dangerous, life-threatening missions on behalf of Dutch patriots–regardless of the consequences.
Harrowing, emotional, and unforgettable, Three Ordinary Girls finally moves these three icons of resistance into the deserved forefront of world history.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you were moved reading about Anne Frank’s irrepressible spirit, just wait until you hear about the incredible young freedom fighters profiled in historian Tim Brady’s book. Hannie Schaft and teenage sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen played a little-known role in the Dutch Resistance during World War II. The trio started out distributing leaflets but quickly progressed to direct and dangerous actions: spying, sabotage, transporting Jewish refugees, and even seducing and then assassinating Nazis and their collaborators. (Sometimes we had to remind ourselves that this jaw-dropping story is 100% real!) Along with interviews with Dutch Resistance members, Brady draws on memoirs, diaries, and official documents to drive home the horrors these three fearless women were up against. Whether you’re a World War II buff or just love to celebrate history’s unsung heroes, this is a gripping and inspiring read.
Historian Brady (Twelve Desperate Miles) delivers a dramatic group portrait of three teenage girls who fought in the Dutch resistance movement during WWII. Truus Oversteegen and her younger sister, Freddie, were born into a family active in leftist political circles in Haarlem, and after the German military overwhelmed Dutch defenses in 1940, the sisters, who were 17 and 15 years old, distributed copies of an anti-Nazi magazine and helped sabotage a speech by the head of the Dutch Nazi party. Eventually, they joined a resistance cell and met fellow teenager Hannie Schaft, who became known to the Gestapo as "The Girl with the Red Hair." The trio took part in missions to save Jewish children from deportation, smuggle weapons, gather intelligence, destroy public infrastructure used by the Germans, and assassinate Dutch Nazis. Brady conveys the inhumanity of the period with precision, describing in one instance how Truus had to dispose of the corpse of an elderly Jewish woman who had gone into hiding at the home of fellow resistance members. This moving story spotlights the extraordinary heroism of everyday people during the war and the Holocaust.
Three Ordinary Girls
Excellent book. Well written and very informative. Those girls are to be remembered always. Peace with nature
Don’t waste your time.
Most tedious book I’ve ever read. No character development. Reads like a very boring history book. Don’t waste your time and money. I couldn’t make myself finish it. If you want a book to put yourself to sleep this it.