Forced to live under the dangerous rule of the Nazi Party, these teenage siblings worked to resist Nazi authority in the Netherlands via distributing illegal newspapers, harboring fugitives, helping Jewish people escape detention facilities and concentration camps, and smuggling Jewish people to safety. Both girls received arms training to shoot occupying soldiers, helped set explosives to railroads and bridges, and engaged themselves in any way they could to undermine Nazi control. The Oversteegens are perhaps most memorable for their work in seducing Nazi officers and luring them into the woods, where fellow resistance members would be waiting to shoot and bury the officers. These women’s activism did not end with WWII, however, as after the war Truus began to publicly speak out on the topics of war, anti-semitism, and tolerance. Truus and Freddie also established the Hannie Schaft Foundation, named after one of their fellow resistance fighters who was executed by Nazi forces during the war, which is dedicated to raising awareness regarding the dangers of extremism and racism.
To learn more about the Oversteegen Sisters, please access the links below:
If you are interested in learning more about how women have engaged in physical resistance against oppression throughout history, please come by the Women’s Museum of California gift shop to purchase this outstanding piece: Her Own Hero: The Origins of the Women’s Self-Defense Movement by Wendy L. Rouse.