Book Review: Three Ordinary Girls


Three Unusual Ladies: The Exceptional Story of Three Dutch Youngsters Who Turned Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins and WWII Heroes, by Tim Brady, Citadel, New York, 2021, $26
In Could 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands. Regardless of the ever-present menace of retaliation, many Dutch did no matter was essential to undermine the occupation. Resistance efforts ranged from the distribution of unlawful publications and concealment of Jews to the assassination of traitors and collaborators.
In Three Unusual Ladies writer Brady relates the actions of Haarlem resistance fighters Hannie Schaft and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen. Raised in suburban households with communist leanings and witness to Nazi atrocities, the younger ladies joined the Dutch resistance as teenagers and finally grew to become extremely efficient scouts, couriers and assassins.
As Brady notes, their outwardly harmless look, fast wits, daring and resourcefulness enabled Schaft and the Oversteegens to turn into the principal eyes and ears of the Haarlem Council of Resistance. The writer additionally particulars the issue of creating resistance teams in Holland, the tragic seize and loss of life of Schaft, the postwar lives of the Oversteegen sisters and their battle to achieve authorities recognition of all three ladies’s sacrifices.
Three Unusual Ladies is a poignant account of heroic younger ladies who demonstrated idealism, patriotism and braveness within the face of fixed hazard. The guide can also be a reminder of the hazard of underestimating one’s enemies and the bravery that springs from essentially the most unlikely sources.
—S.L. Hoffman
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