On September 1, 1939, when World War II began to unleash what would be a six-year devastating rain of bullets and bombs all across the globe, a young girl by the name of Freddie Nanda Dekker-Oversteegen was only 13 years of age.

Together with her older sister Truus Menger-Oversteegen and friend Hannie Schaft, who were 16 and 18 years old, they formed a major formidable force in the Dutch resistance against the German occupation of the Netherlands.

Truus took the leading role; Hannie was the intellectual one, whereas Freddie played the part as the tactician; all three were assassins.

In addition to gathering crucial information about the war effort and providing the Jews with safe houses, the trio was also involved in much more difficult duties like bombing railways and killing Nazi officers.

The Nazis executed Hannie three weeks before the end of the war. Truus and Freddie survived the war and lived through their old days. 

Freddie was just a young girl in her early teenage years when she voluntarily became an assassin. She would often lure German soldiers to go for a walk in the woods and killed them there.

Freddie was also credited with the deaths of multiple traitors. Her days during the war would be full of terrors, to say the least, and here are some highlights of her story.

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10 Early Life

Born in September 1925, Freddie and her sister spent her early childhood on a barge with family in Schoten, Netherlands. Their parents also took part in the resistance by hiding Lithuanian refugees before World War II.

After their parents divorced, Freddie and Truus were raised primarily by their mother. This was the time they learned about communist principles.

Given the upbringing and communist belief, it was only natural for the sisters to take an active role in the war against Nazi Germany.

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9 Dutch Resistance Recruits

At the beginning of the war, Freddie and her sister partook in the resistance by handing out some anti-Nazi pamphlets on the streets.

Such activity might not deliver massive impact, but at least it was an act that earned them the attention of Frans van der Wiel, commander of the Haarlem Council of Resistance.

The commander asked the girls to join, hoping that their innocent looks would be such great assets. At this point, Freddie was 14 years old, but her mother permitted her to take a more active role. The sisters officially became resistance fighters.



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8 Strategic Mind

Frans van der Wiel, later on, revealed that the girls would be tasked with sabotaging bridges and railway lines. To nobody’s surprise, Freddie and her sister happily accepted the duties.

With the help of Hannie Schaft, the girls did what they were told to do. They used dynamite to disable vital bridges and railway tracks.

When they were not blowing up transportation lines, Freddie and her comrades aided Jewish children by helping them escape concentration camps and smuggling them out of Netherlands.

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7 The First To Kill

Sabotaging transportation and helping kids were not the only works Freddie did for the resistance.

The commander told the girls that they needed to learn how to use firearms as well. While Freddie admittedly said it was something he had never done before, she did well in training.

Freddie – rather than the older girls– carried out the first of many assassination jobs assigned to the trio.

They would often make the killings in cycle-by shooting circumstances. The girls almost always went by bike; it was quicker, safer, and more efficient.

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6 Young Assassin

It remains unclear whom Freddie assassinated first. In an interview with the BBC, her son speculated that a Dutch woman planned to hand over a list of Jews she knew to the Germans.

Freddie approached the traitor to make sure she had the right target, then shot her to death.

The method was likely a cycle-by shooting too. Truus cycled at the front while Freddie sat on the back and pulled the trigger.

Freddie’s young, innocent look with two braids on her hair enabled her to stay safe from German soldiers’ detection.

5 Gone In The Woods

Another common method was to lure to-be-assassinated persons into the woods. As if the idea of cycle-by shooting was not difficult enough, Freddie was well-known for her deception technique.

She would deliberately meet German soldiers and their co-conspirators in taverns and bars. Under the pretense of the romantic overture, she easily lured them into the wilderness where no enemy could find her.

Some unsuspecting soldiers would gladly accept the invitation and never returned because Freddie had killed them in a surprise attack.

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4 Necessary Evil

In a televised interview, Freddie talked about her experience during the war, specifically about the killings and how she felt about it. She admitted to firing a gun and watching people she shot to fall to the ground.

She was practically a soldier in those moments, but she couldn’t help getting the urge to help them get up. When asked about the attacks, she described them as “necessary evil.”

Freddie and her two comrades admitted to never killing kids. She said that resistance fighters should never murder children.

National Hannie Schaft Foundation

3 Legacy

Following the end of the war, Truus went on to become an artist and lecturer. She talked about what she had to endure during her time in the Dutch resistance. Freddie herself lived a quiet life.

Truus Menger-Oversteegen died on June 18, 2016. Freddie Nanda Dekker-Oversteegen died two years later, on September 5, 2018.

Both left this world at the age of 92. Unfortunately, throughout their long lives, the Dutch government failed to recognize their roles in the war. They were sidelined as communists.

Dutch Ministry of Defense

2 Widespread Recognition

In 2014, Freddie gained widespread recognition as a resistance fighter against Nazi Germany in World War II.

Along with her sister Truus, they received the Mobilization War Cross awarded by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Freddie’s son described the award ceremony as the highlight of his mother’s life. As part of the appreciation and gratitude for the sisters’ roles, Haarlem’s streets were subsequently named after them as well.

Freddie revealed that every year on Remembrance Day in the Netherlands, the struggle’s bitter memory during the war made her feel dreadful.

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1 Hannie Schaft

Freddie’s and Truus’ comrade Hannie Schaft did not survive the war. German soldiers spotted her during an assassination attempt and made her a target. The Nazis knew her only as of the “Girl with the Red Hair.”

Hannie was eventually captured while transporting a pistol and underground papers on her bicycle.

She was interrogated, tortured, and ultimately executed in March 1945. Hannie was one of only 95 people to receive the Dutch Cross of Resistance. General Eisenhower also gave her an award, possibly the Medal of Freedom.

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