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

When fighting an invading army, there are two ways to go about it. The first is to join the government-created and regulated military. The second is to become a member of the underground resistance and fight using whatever methods you have at your disposal.

Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins–and WWII Heroes, by Tim Brady, was published in February. When Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in May of 1940, Hannie Schaft and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen were not yet twenty. Angered by the invasion and the treatment of the Dutch people, they joined the resistance. Their task was two-fold: to save as many of their Jewish friends and neighbors while doing everything they could to stop the German army in its tracks.

This book is amazing. It is a heart-pounding, blood-pumping, thriller of a ride. What these girls did is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Giving the middle finger to the enemy and the patriarchy, they fought for their freedom and their lives while others were content to remain silent or fall in line with the Nazi regime. They are heroes in every sense of the word and should always be remembered as such.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters’ Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory Book Review

When one nation or people invades another, the decision to join the resistance is not one to be taken lightly. Knowing that you are constantly at death’s door, it requires a certain kind of bravery that could also be deemed as foolishness.

The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters’ Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory, by Rox­ane van Iperen, was published in August. The book tells the story of two Dutch Jewish sisters, Janny Brilleslijper and Lien Brilleslijper. Less than a year after the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the lives of the sisters, their family, and every other Jew in the country begins to change for the worst. They have two options. They can either stay where they are and wait for the other shoe to drop. The other choice is to go into hiding and hope that they will all be alive at the end of the war.

The solution is to go into hiding in the woods. Known as “The High Nest“, the property is a safe house for the family, artists, and other resistance fighters. Just as it seems that the Allies are on the verge of taking back Europe, they are betrayed and sent to Auschwitz. Forced onto the train with them is Anne Frank and her family. As the two sets of siblings try to survive, Janny and Lien connect with Anne and her older sister, Margot. Waiting for liberation will test the sisters in every way possible, forcing them to rely on each other and an inner strength that may be the only thing keeping them alive.

When we talk about resistance, the conversation frequently revolves around men. Women are not given their due or an opportunity to tell the story. Having never heard of Janny and Lien Brilleslijper, it was another reminder of how badass Jewish women are. My problem with the book is that I was not feeling the danger and the tension of the narrative. I should have felt the stress and anxiety of what the characters were going through. Ultimately, I didn’t, which is highly dissapointing.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Now This Is A Politician

In response to the murders of 17 French citizens last week, Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands made the following statement on television:

“if you do not like freedom, in Heaven’s name pack your bag and leave,”

Now this is a politician. This is a man who respects his country, his city, the citizens who elected him into office and the culture that opened their arms to him. While he remains true to who he is and what he believes, he stands up for the laws of his adopted country and his fellow citizens, even if they disagree with him.

If only the big man in the white house would do the same.

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