Audrey Hepburn Led A Secret Life As A World War II Resistance Fighter

The iconic actress was inspired to join the movement after the tragic execution of her uncle.

A black-and-white portrait of Audrey Hepburn taken in the 1950's
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The iconic actress was inspired to join the movement after the tragic execution of her uncle.

Glamorous actress Audrey Hepburn was a resistance fighter in World War II, Page Six is reporting. A new book by Robert Matzen titled Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II will chronicle her experiences growing up in a Nazi-occupied country. The book will be released in its entirety in April 2019.

Hepburn was a young ballerina in 1939 when her world was changed forever. She was residing in England when the war began, and her mother hoped returning with her to their home country Holland would help them avoid the worst of the battle. Unfortunately, the Netherlands did not remain neutral as her mother expected and was conquered by the Third Reich. This resulted in Hepburn’s uncle, Count Otto van Limburg Stirum, being executed by the Nazis. This devastated Hepburn and motivated her to take action.

Matzen was able to obtain a journal Otto kept in the four months leading up to his death. The diary is 188 pages and consists of Otto narrating his life in imprisonment. Needless to say, this historical document gave Matzen plenty of insight into Hepburn and her family’s journey. Hepburn’s son, Luca Dotti, wrote the forward for Matzen’s book. He recalled his late mother often shared with her children the lessons she learned through the traumatizing experience.

“When my mother talked about herself and what life taught her, Hollywood was the missing guest,” he recounted. “Instead of naming famed Beverly Hills locations, she gave us obscure and sometimes unpronounceable Dutch ones. Red-carpet recollections were replaced by Second World War episodes that she was able to transform into children’s tales.”

Dotti also said that Matzen’s new book provides a lot of context about his mother’s experiences.

“I now understand why the words Good and Evil, and Love and Mercy were so fundamental in her own narrative. Why she was open about certain facts and why she kept so many others in a secluded area of her being.”

According to the Daily Mail, Hepburn was a doctor’s assistant for victims of the Battle of Arnhem in 1944, a.k.a the Bridge Too Far Battle. In addition, Hepburn reportedly had to deal with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent, and her mother was also alleged to have some pro-Nazi views. Still, Hepburn courageously fought for what was right.

The new book promises to provide information from “Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives.” The book will also feature exclusive photographs from Hepburn’s personal photo albums.