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 Hannie Schaft

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Hannie Schaft

  • Original Name Jannetje Johanna
  • Birth 16 Sep 1920 Haarlem, Haarlem Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
  • Death 17 Apr 1945 Bloemendaal, Bloemendaal Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
  • Burial Overveen, Bloemendaal Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
  • Memorial ID 21465

WWII Resistance Figure. Born Jannetje Johanna Schaft in Haarlem, the Netherlands, the youngest daughter of Aafje Talea Vrijer and Pieter Schaft, an elementary school teacher. She was a good student, and after completing secondary school, she studied law at the University of Amsterdam where she joined the Amsterdam Female Students Association. In the spring of 1940, the Dutch capitulated to German forces at the onset of WWII. University students were required to sign a declaration of allegiance to the occupation authorities, she refused, and became ineligible to continue her studies. When German occupiers began to target Dutch Jews, she found herself stealing identity and ration cards for them. She progressed to stealing weapons from German soldiers and distributing underground pamphlets. By 1943, looking for a more active roll in resisting the occupation, she joined the Raad van Verzet, a resistance group tied to Dutch Communists, who gave her the name Hannie. She learned to speak German fluently and how to handle weapons. She gathered information, helped fugitives, and distributed underground pamphlets, but was determined to do more. In November 1943, she and three other operatives tried to sabotage the power plant in Velsen-Noord. Although the effort failed, the attempt boosted local morale. She teamed with operative Jan Bonekamp, and the pair carried out several assassinations of Dutch collaborators. When Bonekamp was later shot and captured, he was forced to put a name to the girl with the red hair who was his accomplice. She went into hiding and dyed her hair black. Eventually, she began again to work as a courier between resistance cells. In March 1945, she was arrested after a checkpoint search found her carrying copies of an illegal socialist newspaper and a pistol. Despite several interrogations, she refused to reveal any information. Eventually, she was transported to prison in Amsterdam, where a guard discovered the red roots of her dyed hair, revealing her identity. Despite an agreement in place between the Germans and the local government to suspend executions, such was her notoriety, she was removed from her cell, taken to the dunes of Overveen, and shot. She was buried in a shallow grave there, just three weeks prior to the liberation of Holland. After the war, the dunes yielded the remains of 422 resistance fighters, only one of whom was a woman. On 27 November 1945, the remains were re-interred at the Cemetery of Honor in Bloemendaal, attended by members of the royal family. A simple tombstone for her bore the epitaph "She served." In 1982, a monument in her honor was unveiled in the Kenau park in Haarlem. Author Theun de Vries wrote a biography of her life, which inspired the Dutch feature film, both of which were entitled, "Het Meisje met het Rode Haar" (The Girl with the Red Hair; 1981).

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 17 Apr 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 21465
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hannie Schaft (16 Sep 1920–17 Apr 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 21465, citing Bloemendaal Erebegraafplaats, Overveen, Bloemendaal Municipality, Noord-Holland, Netherlands ; Maintained by Find A Grave .