Three Ordinary Girls
Feb 23, 2021
Three Ordinary Girls by Tim Brady portrays fierce fighters in the Netherlands against the Nazi occupation. They were only teenagers, but that helped them to succeed in the resistance movement.
These three girls, Truus Oversteegen and her younger sister, Freddie, ages sixteen and fourteen respectively, along with Hannie Schaft, age nineteen, known to the Gestapo as “The Girl with the Red Hair,” did everything in their power to save their fellow Dutch citizens. These fresh-faced teenagers were unlikely to be suspected of anti-fascist activities, allowing them to operate under the noses of the Nazis. While riding bicycles the girls would do a drive-by shooting, and then coolly pedal away after gunning down their target.
Brady explained, “I have written a handful of non-fiction World War II books and was looking for a resistance story for my next book. In 2018, my agent saw Freddie’s obituary. I looked deeper into her interesting story. I also decided to refer to Anne Frank to ground the story and appeal to an American audience. I wanted to do a story that highlighted the three teenage resistance fighters. The Dutch resistance had unique characteristics. It was late to get started since there was some sympathy within the Dutch population for a German presence. Plus, the geography of the country did not allow for places to hide since there was little mountainous regions and forests.”
Brady also noted, “I would compare the three girls. Hannie was better educated and more sophisticated, slightly older, from a middle-class background. The two sisters were from a working-class background and were dedicated members of the Communist Party. All three were smart, enterprising, brave, courageous, and stealthy. They used their wiles. They were willing to put their lives on the line.”
This book helps to spotlight the extraordinary heroism of everyday people during the war and the Holocaust, especially in an area not written widely about.