In April, RedState covered the March deaths of Holocaust survivors and World War II heroes such as 85-year-old survivor Mireille Knoll and 107-year-old Johan van Hulst. This month, the world lost two more WWII resistance heroes, Freddie Oversteegen and Paulina Plaksej.
Oversteegen, who passed away on September 5th, was the last surviving member of a Dutch female resistance cell.
She was born in 1925 in Amsterdam and joined the Dutch resistance in 1939 at the age of fourteen. She and her older sister Truus were recruited because young girls were less likely to be suspected of being a part of the Resistance and therefore able to move more freely.
In 2016, Oversteegen gave an interview to Vice, in which she revealed her single mother granted approval for her to become a teenage Resistance fighter, saying, “A man wearing a hat came to the door and asked my mother if he could ask [my sister and me]. And he did, so yes, she was OK with it.”
Oversteegen, Truus, and their friend Hannie Schaft contributed to the Resistance efforts by scoping out the bars and streets for Nazis and then luring them to secluded areas under the pretense of romantic encounters, where either they or other Resistance members would assassinate the men.
Oversteegen told Vice about the death of “one Nazi big shot” who was killed in the woods.
I didn’t shoot him—one of the men did. I had to keep an eye on my sister and keep a lookout from a vantage point in the woods to see if no one was coming. [My sister] Truus had met him in an expensive bar, seduced him, and then took him for a walk in the woods. She was like: “Want to go for a stroll?” And of course, he wanted to. Then they ran into someone—which was made to seem a coincidence, but he was one of ours—and that friend said to Truus: “Girl, you know you’re not supposed to be here.” They apologized, turned around, and walked away. And then shots were fired, so that man never knew what hit him. They had already dug the hole, but we weren’t allowed to be there for that part.
Oversteegen also worked against the Nazis by using dynamite to destroy bridges and railroads and by helping to hide Jews in her house.
She passed away one day before her 93rd birthday.
And earlier this week, another woman who fought back against the Nazis passed away.
A hero died today. You won’t read about it on the news or hear about it at your dinner tables. Her name was Paulina Plaksej, and she, along with her parents, risked their lives to save 18 jews during the Holocaust. Paulina was a Polish Christian. She made god smile. Rest in peace
— Daniella Greenbaum Davis (@DGreenbaum) September 23, 2018
Plaksej and her parents helped to save Jewish lives, by feeding, hiding, and helping them escape the Nazis, despite the risk of losing their own lives for doing so.
According to the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, all of the Jews that Paulina and her family helped were able to survive the war.
In 1987, Plaksej was honored by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance center, which named her as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, a title that recognizes non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
Later in Plaksej’s life, she met with groups interested in learning more about the Holocaust and her family’s role in saving Jewish lives. She was also reunited with Jews who had been saved by her family.
And two years ago, Oversteegen revealed to Vice how the war affected her and her sister. “We never had to say ‘remember when,’ because it was always at the top of our minds.”
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.