Renowned Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn was way much more than just a pretty face. Author Robert Matzen reveals information about the actress in his upcoming book titled “Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II.”

While it was reportedly already known that Hepburn had donated her earnings as a ballerina to the Dutch Resistance, it turns out the star also worked directly with the group’s leaders in helping to defeat the Nazis. The book also reveals her trauma at the death of her uncle at the hands of the Nazis in World War II.

The early life of Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn was born in Belgium in 1929 and worked as a ballerina in the UK until the war began and her family brought her back to Holland. Her father, Joseph Ruston, was British and abandoned the family when she was a young girl. Hepburn’s mother, a Dutch baroness, hoped the Netherlands would remain neutral, keeping her family safe, however, Nazi Germany soon occupied the country.

Hepburn died at the age of 63 in 1993 and the book gives more information about the renowned Hollywood actress. Matzen writes in the book of the proof he has that Hepburn was directly involved in the Dutch Resistance, helping their leaders to defeat the Nazis and running messages for them.

Hepburn’s son wrote the foreword for the book

As reported by Page Six of the New York Post, Hepburn’s youngest son, Luca Dotti, was involved in writing the foreword for the book. In that foreword, he wrote that whenever his mother talked about her life and what it had taught her, she never spoke about Hollywood. Instead of mentioning Beverley Hills, Hepburn told them about obscure and often hard to pronounce Dutch locations.

Instead of speaking about the red carpet, she told them about episodes during World War II that she managed to transform into children’s stories.

According to Dotti, Matzen’s new book solves mysteries about his mother’s life, saying he now understands why “Love and Mercy” and “Good and Evil” were such prominent words in her own story.

It also reveals why she opened up about some facts but kept many more in “a secluded area of her being.”

Hepburn and the Dutch Resistance

The Scottish Daily Record notes that Hepburn was known to have donated earnings from her work in the ballet to the Dutch Resistance movement. However, new information reveals that she had worked as the assistant to a Dutch Resistance doctor during what was termed the “bridge too far” battle for the city of Arnhem.

Reportedly the book, set to be released in April, features content that draws together Hepburn’s reminiscences from that time with wartime diaries, interviews with people who knew her during the war, as well as research into the classified archives in Holland.

The book outlines details from a diary written by Audrey’s uncle, Count Otto van Limburg Stirum. The 188-page diary was kept by her uncle for the four months in which he was placed in prison by the Nazis, up until his murder in 1942, a death which traumatized Hepburn.

Hepburn and her family, like many people in the Netherlands, suffered through famine and hardships, with Audrey herself suffering from oedema and anaemia in the 1944 Dutch Famine. It was after humanitarian aid eventually arrived that Hepburn noted the impact international aid agencies could have on regions hit by disaster or famine.

Due to this, Hepburn dedicated herself during her life to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), leading to her appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador during 1989. Four months prior to her death, Hepburn received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work.