HANNIE SCHAFT

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By Tim Sullivan

Today’s fierce female is Hannie Schaft.

Born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1920, she studied law at the University of Amsterdam. After the German invasion, she joined 80% of her peers in refusing to sign a document pledging support of the invading forces. They were all expelled from school.

Hannie became actively involved with the resistance, first by stealing IDs to give to her Jewish friends, and later leading more outwardly subversive acts. She started running operations targeting Nazi officers, seducing them, gaining their trust, and then assassinating them. She also participated in a successful plot to blow up a power station. She became known in Nazi circles as “the girl with the red hair” and ended up on their Most Wanted list.

The Nazis ended up arresting her parents and sending them to a concentration camp. Hannie negotiated their release in return for her agreeing to end her participation in rebellious act. She immediately dyed her hair black and continued her part in the resistance. She was ultimately caught at a checkpoint with a pistol in her bag. The Nazis identified her by her exposed roots, and she was sentenced to death.

Her assassin’s first shot merely wounded her, before he picked up a machine gun to execute her. After World War II, she was reburied with full military honors.

Her final words were “I could shoot better than you.”

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