Freddie Oversteegen is 90 years old–as you can imagine, she’s seen and been through quite a lot. Well, in Oversteegen’s case, that is a severe understatement. She was one of the few women who were politically active in the Dutch resistance during WWII, along with her sister Truus.
It all started when Freddie was only 14 years old–a man visited her family home to ask her mother’s permission if she would allow her daughters to join the resistance, as no one would suspect two young girls of fighting for the cause. Clearly, he was right.
So, what exactly did Oversteegen do? She and her sister would flirt with Nazi collaborators, leading them into the woods where, instead of a hot and steamy romance, the men would then be shot. A few months ago, Vice interviewed Oversteegen about her time as a resistance fighter, and the post started making the rounds again on social media (because, I mean, how could it not? She’s an extremely important person to learn about).
What Oversteegen says is sometimes chilling, but at other times, endearing (for instance, she mentions loving Scrabble and having a computer, but no internet). Of her time during WWII, she explained what it was like:
“I thought we would be starting a kind of secret army. The man that came to our door said that we would get military training, and they did teach us a thing or two. Someone taught us to shoot and we learned to march in the woods. There were about seven of us then – Hannie wasn’t a part of the group yet and we were the only girls.”
When asked how she coped with all of the trauma, however, she cited becoming a mother:
“By getting married and having babies. And I often babysat Truus’ children as well, because she was very busy. She’d visit Hannie a lot – the mother of Hannie Schaft. I have always been a little jealous of her because she got so much attention after the war. But then I’d just think, “I was in the resistance as well.” You know what I’m going to do now? Make a sandwich and have a cup of tea. I’ve been up since six.”
Thankfully, women like the Oversteegens exist–proving that bravery and strength can go a long way.