Freddie Nanda Dekker-Oversteegen (6 September 1925 – 5 September 2018) was a Dutch communist resistance member during the occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.
Freddie Oversteegen was born 6 September 1925 in the village of Schoten, Netherlands to Jacob Oversteegen and Trijntje van der Molen. She had an older sister, Truus Menger-Oversteegen. She and her family lived on a barge. Before the war, the Oversteegen family harbored people from Lithuania in the hold of their ship, hidden. After the divorce of her parents, Oversteegen was raised by her mother, who taught her communist principles. She moved from the barge to a small apartment. Oversteegen's mother would later remarry and give birth to her half-brother. The family lived in poverty.'
World War II
During the war, the Oversteegen family hid a Jewish couple in their home. Freddie Oversteegen and her older sister Truus began handing out anti-Nazi pamphlets, which attracted the notice of Haarlem Council of Resistance commander Frans van der Wiel. With their mother's permission, the girls joined the Council of Resistance, which brought them into a coordinated effort. She was 14 when she joined the Dutch resistance, though with her long, dark hair in braids she looked at least two years younger. Freddie Oversteegen and her sister Truus, two years her senior, were a pair of teenage women who took up arms against Nazi occupiers and Dutch "traitors" on the outskirts of Amsterdam.
When she rode her bicycle down the streets of Haarlem in North Holland, firearms hidden in a basket, Nazi officials rarely stopped to question her. When she walked through the woods, serving as a lookout or seductively leading her SS target to a secluded place, there was little indication that she carried a handgun and was preparing an execution.
Oversteegen, her sister, and friend Hannie Schaft, a onetime law student with fiery red hair, sabotaged bridges and rail lines with dynamite, shot Nazis while riding their bikes, and donned disguises to smuggle Jewish children across the country and sometimes out of concentration camps.worked to sabotage the Nazi military presence in the Netherlands.
The Oversteegens and Schaft also killed German soldiers, with Freddie the first of the girls to kill a soldier. They would shoot soldiers while riding their bicycles. Most famously, they would lure soldiers to the woods under pretense of a romantic overture and then kill them. Oversteegen would approach the soldiers in taverns and bars and ask them to "go for a stroll" in the forest.
Oversteegen served as a board member on the National Hannie Schaft Foundation. The organization was founded by Oversteegen's sister in 1996 to promote the legacy of Schaft, who was captured and executed by the Nazis weeks before the end of World War II. "Schaft became the national icon of female resistance," said Jeroen Pliester, chairman of the National Hannie Schaft Foundation. She was a martyr whose story was taught to schoolchildren across the Netherlands and memorialized in a 1981 movie, "The Girl With the Red Hair," which took its title from her nickname.
In 2014, Freddie and Truus were awarded the Mobilisation War Cross (Mobilisatie-Oorlogskruis) by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for their acts of resistance during the war. There is also a street named after her in Haarlem.
Freddie Dekker-Oversteegen and Truus Menger-Oversteegen, receiving the Mobilisation-Oorlogskruis, normally awarded by the Burgomaster but was, very special, awarded by our Prime-Minister Mark Rutte, 2014.
Freddie Oversteegen, the last remaining member of the Netherlands' most famous female resistance cell, died Sept. 5, one day before her 93rd birthday. She was living in a nursing home in Driehuis, five miles from Haarlem, and had suffered several heart attacks in recent years.
Freddie Oversteegen married Jan Dekker. They had three children. Her husband, who worked at the steel company Hoogovens, is deceased.