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Three Ordinary Girls: Women Resistance Fighters in WWII Netherlands

Noon Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0088
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Young women serving in the resistance to Nazi Germany in Europe in World War II had many varied and dangerous roles. Whether hiding a variety of refugees—political, cultural, religious—and helping them to find freedom; guiding Jewish children to safety; aiding downed pilots; serving as vital links in the chain of underground communication; crafting forged documents; or spying on German units, theirs was a history marked by courage and resistance.

Only a handful of women resistance fighters, however, ever used a weapon to actually shoot Nazi targets. Two teenage sisters, Truus and Freddy Oversteegen, and their friend, a college-student named Hannie Schaft, trailed a unique path through war-torn North Holland. Working within a Haarlem resistance cell, their duties, which included explosive sabotage and several face-to-face assassinations, would make even the most experienced Macquis swallow hard.

Drawing on his new book, Three Ordinary Girls, author Tim Brady explores the resistance in the Netherlands through the amazing story of these three young women.

Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins and WWII Heroes (Penguin Random House) is available for purchase.

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