Hiding Place (Boom)

 Author Bio 
Birth—April 15, 1892
Where—Haarlem, The Netherlands
Death—April 15, 1983
Where—Southern California, USA

In the years since the closing chapter of this book, Corrie ten Boom has traveled ceaselessly, carrying her message of triumphant living all over the world, especially behind the Iron Curtain. The author of devotional books treasured by millions, she is also a colorful, amusing speaker with a hold on young audiences that is but one of her many intriguing personal mysteries. This is the full story behind the faith that has touched and stirred and changed so many lives everywhere. (From the publisher.)

Cornelia Johanna Arnolda ten Boom, generally known as Corrie ten Boom, was a Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. Ten Boom co-wrote her autobiography, The Hiding Place, which was later made into a movie of the same name. In December, 1967, ten Boom was honored as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel.

Corrie ten Boom was born in the Netherlands, as the youngest of four children. Her mother died of a stroke at the age of 63. Her father Casper ten Boom was a well-liked watch repairman, and often referred to as "Haarlem's Grand Old Man." Her older sister, Elisabeth (Betsie), was born with pernicious anemia. They had two siblings—a sister, Nollie, and a brother, Willem. They lived in a house on Barteljorisstraat 19 with three of her mother's sisters. Her brother Willem graduated from a theology school and warned the Dutch that unless they took action, they would fall to the Nazis. He wrote a dissertation on racial anti-Semitism at theological college in 1927 in preparation for his ordination.

Corrie began training as a watchmaker in 1920 and in 1922 became the first female watchmaker licensed in the Netherlands. She was a devout Christian and an active member of the Dutch Reformed church. In 1923, she helped organize girls' clubs, and in the 1930s these clubs grew to become the very large Triangle club.

In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and banned Corrie ten Boom's club. In May 1942, a well dressed woman came to the ten Boom door with a suitcase in hand. She told the ten Booms that she was a Jew and that her husband had been arrested several months before, and her son had gone into hiding. Occupation authorities had recently visited her, and she was too fearful to return home. After hearing about how the ten Booms had helped their Jewish neighbors, the Weils, she asked if she might stay with them, and Corrie ten Boom's father readily agreed.

A devoted reader of the Old Testament, Casper ten Boom believed Jews were indeed "the chosen," and told the woman, "In this household, God's people are always welcome." Thus began "the hiding place", or "de schuilplaats", as it was known in Dutch (also known as "de Beje", with Beje being derived from the name of the street the house was in, the Barteljorisstraat).

Ten Boom and her sister began taking in refugees, some of whom were Jews, others members of the resistance movement sought by the Gestapo and its Dutch counterpart. There were several extra rooms in their house, but food was scarce due to wartime shortages. Every non-Jewish Dutch person had received a ration card with which they could procure weekly coupons to buy food.

The Jews hid in a room that the ten Boom family had built in Corrie's bedroom for them by an architect belonging to the Dutch Resistance. The room was the size of a medium wardrobe, 75 cm (30") deep, with an air vent on the outside wall. The Nazis never found this room because the only entrance was a small hatch which slid open to let the Jews in and out. Also, the room was built in a special way that could make it seem like no one was in there when the Nazi officials would bang on the walls. They would bang on the walls to find out if there were any hollow spaces that could have held Jews.

The Germans arrested the entire ten Boom family on February 28, 1944 at around 12:30 with the help of a Dutch informant. They were sent first to Scheveningen prison (where her father died ten days after his capture). Corrie's sister Nollie, brother Willem, and nephew Peter were all released. Later, Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Vught political concentration camp (both in the Netherlands), and finally to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany on December 16, 1944, where Corrie's sister Betsie died. Before she died she told Corrie, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." Corrie was released on New Year's Eve of December 1944. In the movie The Hiding Place, ten Boom narrates the section on her release from camp, saying that she later learned that her release had been a clerical error. The women prisoners her age in the camp were killed the week following her release. She said, "God does not have problems. Only plans."

After the war, Corrie ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up rehabilitation centres. This refuge house consisted of concentration camp surivors and sheltered the jobless Dutch who previously collaborated with Germans during the occupation. She returned to Germany in 1946, and traveled the world as a public speaker, appearing in over sixty countries, during which time she wrote many books.

Ten Boom told the story of her family and their work during World War II in her most famous book, The Hiding Place (1971), which was made into a film by World Wide Pictures in 1975.

In 1977, Corrie ten Boom, then 85 years old, moved to Orange, California. Successive strokes in 1978 took away her powers of speech and communication and left her an invalid for the last five years of her life. She died on her birthday, April 15, 1983, at the age of 91.

• The State of Israel honored ten Boom by naming her Righteous Among the Nations.

• Ten Boom was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in recognition of her work during the war, and a museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem is dedicated to her and her family.

• Her teaching focused on the Christian Gospel, with emphasis on forgiveness. In her book Tramp for the Lord (1974), she tells the story of how, after she had been teaching in Germany in 1947, she was approached by one of the cruelest former Ravensbrück camp guards. She was reluctant to forgive him, but prayed that she would be able to. She wrote that, "For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then."

• She also wrote (in the same passage) that in her post-war experience with other victims of Nazi brutality, it was those who were able to forgive who were best able to rebuild their lives.

• She was known for her rejection of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Her writings claim that it is without Biblical foundation, and she has claimed that the doctrine left the Christian Church ill-prepared in times of great persecution, such as in China under Mao Zedong. She appeared on many Christian television programs discussing her ordeal during the Holocaust, and the concepts of forgiveness and God's love. (From Wikipedia.)

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