Biography of Leo Frijda, born August 1923 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, executed by Nazi firing squad as a resistance fighter on the North Sea coast October 1943 aged just twenty. Precisely because he was an unlikely hero of the Dutch resistance - a friend recalls how he must have 'won a great battle within himself, because he was by nature a rather frightened boy ' - Leo is all the more a hero.
Leo: A Hero of the Dutch Resistance
Lawrence Tallentire, author
This engrossing debut biography tells the tale of Dutch Jew Leo Frijda, who was executed at the age of 20 in 1943 for his involvement in a resistance movement. Tallentire draws on Frijda’s poetry and letters, and interviews with his siblings, to go beyond the superficial evidence of a happy childhood preserved in photos and scrapbooks, illuminating Frijda’s strained relationship with his parents. Due to the 1929 Wall Street crash, the Netherlands suffered mass unemployment and poverty, which inevitably created social unrest as the Nazis were coming to power in Germany. In 1940, the Germans invaded the Netherlands, which quickly surrendered as the teenage Frijda struggled with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. After the enactment of anti-Jewish measures, Frijda left home to become a trainee medical analyst and joined the resistance group CS6. He participated directly in military operations, including the 1943 execution of Dutch general Hendrik Seyffardt, who led a volunteer unit that aided the Nazis. Later that year, the Nazis arrested CS6’s members, including Frijda, who was executed by firing squad. Tallantire does an excellent job of bringing his subject to life and putting that life in a broader historical context. This brief, sympathetic biography will move readers. (BookLife)