Freddie Oversteegen – Inspirational WW2 Fighter

Freddie Oversteegen in 1943. Courtesy of The Observer

Hasn’t it been cheering to see so much coverage given to women lately? Women starring in excellent dramas and not even as naked victims, women speaking up and being listened to, books about women.. It’s almost like equality has struck. Well, let’s not get too carried away; I’ve lived too long to be convinced we’ve got there (there is still much to do) but I am very happy with what I’m seeing so far.

On that note, did you see the article in last Sunday’s Observer about Freddie Oversteegen? Another unsung woman of her time getting some publicity and respect. Freddie was a young teenager when the war came to her in Holland, and she died on 5th September, 2018, aged 93. In 2014 she was belatedly honoured by the Dutch government for her work in rescuing Jewish people from the Nazis.

Oversteegen’s war began one Friday in May 1940 with planes roaring overhead and the smell of smoke. Realising the Nazis had invaded the Netherlands, her family began burning their radical literature. Oversteegen, then 14, and Truus, {sister} 16, were already used to smuggling refugees and distributing forbidden texts. It wasn’t long before the resistance came to recruit them. Her mother only gave them one rule, Oversteegen once recalled: “Always stay human.”

It’s an interesting read which you can see in full here.

Women Writers Book Club

Thank you so much for all your comments and questions about the virtual book club. In brief, I am meeting with a small group of friends every 6 weeks or so, to discuss books by women that we like. No posing, showing off, or being ‘worthy’. Our aim is to have some fun reading and to value women writers. And then it occurred to me that you can join in, too. It’s simple, all you need to do is read the book and share your comments on Twitter using Hashtag #WWBC or email me your thoughts. Whenever I can I am going to contact the author and try and get a few questions to think about or interview them. Quite a few of you have already declared your interest, including one reader from Bangkok, which is fabulous! If you missed the last blog post, which fully explains it, try this, Women, Writers …and Wine?  Our very first book is The Lie of You, which was the first novel penned by Jane Lythell and is soon to be released as a film. The interview with Jane is coming next week, so keep a look out for that. Maybe you could get a few friends together, too, and host your own gathering? We’re meeting on October 30th.

Jane Lythell

Speak Up Book

Talking of books, I am still working on mine (OK, I did fall off the writing wagon for a month or so, I admit it, but am back on it now) about men, women and communication. I am really interested to hear from anyone who has a story to share about this topic. For example, research confirms that men do interrupt women more than they do other men. Plus, the genders are socialised differently with boys being allowed to get ‘angry’ and to exhibit stag like behaviour at work (duelling) and women not being encouraged to show anger resulting in a more duetting style of communication. Business styles have evolved along the lines that men favour generally disadvantaging women, and men who do not like the macho style. (I am paraphrasing madly). If you’ve experienced this at work it would be good to hear about it. Not to whinge about men, please no, but to add a bit of colour to the facts. I am also happy to hear from men.

In particular, I would like to hear from transgender people, male or female. They will have a very unique insight in how gender plays a part in communication, and I’d love to write a chapter on it.

Get in touch with me via jane at changing or on LinkedIn.

Changing People licences experienced trainers to deliver its International RenewYou programme for women.

Read more about it here.


Posted on September 25th, 2018 by

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