Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins and WWII Heroes by Tim Brady, David de Vries (Narrator)

Published February 23rd 2021 by HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books, Citadel Press

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I like to read or listen to books dealing with WWII, but especially about people or even that I do not know a lot about. I knew that the Nazis had invaded and occupied the Netherlands, but only about Anne Frank and Corrie ten Boom. This story was about the resistance, specifically, three young women who worked with the Socialists. The story begins in the Dutch city of Haarlem where three teenage girls: Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen joined the local resistance and soon were some of the best agents they had. Some of the things they did included sheltering fleeing Jews, political dissidents, and Dutch resisters. They sabotaged bridges and railways and donned disguises to lead Jewish children to safehouses. They transported weapons and set military facilities ablaze, and even carried out the assassinations of German soldiers and traitors.

These young women were fearless and took on missions that could have ended up killing them or capturing them, but they persevered and were willing to risk their lives for freedom and what was right. They were raised in political families and those beliefs of freedom and equality were ingrained in them. I was impressed with their courage and the faith the resistance had in them. There was also a lot of detail about the hardships of the Dutch people due to the occupation. The way they turned citizens against one another by offering special rewards turned many people into informants and some of them were killed by the resistance due to that. Living through a war is brought into a very realistic light in this book that is not always easy to read. I didn’t realize that the Socialists were so entrenched in the Netherlands and was saddened to hear that these heroes were not honoured as they should have been due to their political leanings. I started to read this book, but it was a bit dry. I switched to the audiobook and was much more interested and able to attend more. One of girls did lose her life before the allies liberated them, but the other two survived into their 90s. Hannie, Truus and Freddie were all recognized by Israel and the Jewish people for her selflessness, named Righteous Among the Nations and finally honored in their own county in 2014. If you enjoy learning about real heroes from the war years, then pick this book up, I do recommend listening to it if you have that option.


Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins–and WWII Heroes

About the Book: The astonishing WWII true story of a trio of fearless female resisters whose youth and innocence belied their extraordinary daring in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. It also made them the underground’s most invaluable commodity. Now for the first time, the complete account of these inspiring teenagers, recruited during WWII as spies, saboteurs and Nazi assassins, who fulfilled their harrowing missions with remarkable courage.

May 10, 1940. The Netherlands was swarming with Third Reich troops. In seven days it’s entirely occupied by Nazi Germany. Joining a small resistance cell in the Dutch city of Haarlem were three teenage girls: Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen who would soon band together to form a singular female underground squad.

Smart, fiercely political, devoted solely to the cause, and “with nothing to lose but their own lives”, Hannie, Truus, and Freddie took terrifying direct action against Nazi targets. That included sheltering fleeing Jews, political dissidents, and Dutch resisters. They sabotaged bridges and railways and donned disguises to lead children from probable internment in concentration camps to safehouses. They covertly transported weapons and set military facilities ablaze. And they carried out the assassinations of German soldiers and traitors-on public streets and in private traps-with the courage of veteran guerilla fighters and the cunning of seasoned spies.

In telling this true story through the lens of a fearlessly unique trio of freedom fighters, Tim Brady offers a never-before-seen perspective of the Dutch resistance during the war. Of lives under threat; of how these courageous young women became involved in the underground; and how their dedication evolved into dangerous, life-threatening missions on behalf of Dutch patriots-regardless of the consequences.

Harrowing, emotional, and unforgettable, Three Ordinary Girls finally moves these three icons of resistance into the deserved forefront of world history.