It’s me Lydia Tyndall with another Miscellany article for y’all!
Corrie ten Boom was born in 1892 in Haarlem, the Netherlands. She grew up in a building called the Beje. It contained a watch shop with living space above it.
Every day throughout her childhood, Corrie and her three siblings would gather and listen to their father read the Bible. The family was always ready to help anyone in need.
For the next few decades Corrie lived a quiet life. She never married and lived in the Beje with her father and sister, Betsie. In 1940 when Corrie was in her fifties, Nazi Germany invaded the Nethrlands. This changed the life of all Dutch people, but none more than Jews.
After the invasion, the Nazis began deporting Jews. They were taken to concentration camps and never returned. As she saw this happen, Corrie prayed, offering herself to God to help the Jewish people in any way she could. This prayer was soon answered when Jews began knocking on her door seeking a place to hide from German soldiers. Corrie gladly welcomed them in and helped them find permanent hiding places in the countryside. Before long, without intending to, Corrie found herself and the Beje a central hub for the Dutch underground, a secret organization focused on repelling German rule. Throughout each day, underground workers came and went from the Beje. One of these visitors built a secret room in Corrie’s bedroom. Another man installed a buzzer system to warn the Jews if a Nazi officer was at the door.
As the war went on, it became harder to find hiding places in the countryside. Because of this, seven Jews became permanent residents of the Beje. Corrie was able to show the love of God to anyone who entered the Beje.
Sadly, Corrie and her family were betrayed by an informer. The Nazis raided the Beje, finding evidence that the ten Booms were involved with the underground. The family was arrested and sent to prison, where Corrie’s elderly father died. While in prison, Corrie received a note from her sister Nollie telling her that none of the seven Jews hiding in the secret room had been found.
Corrie and her sister were later sent to Vaught, a labor camp where they had to help make equipment for German soldiers. They were then transported to Ravensbruck, a women’s extermination camp. Inmates had to live in filthy, crowded barracks, could not keep any personal possessions, and had to stand for hours each morning for roll calls. Many died of disease or were sent to gas chambers. Even in this horrible place, Corrie and her sister Betsie were able to share the gospel with others. Corrie was miraculously able to keep a Bible, and the sisters held Bible studies in their barracks. After a while, Betsie was killed by illness brought on by the appalling conditions of the camp. Corrie was released due to a paperwork error.
After the war, Corrie published a book telling her story, called The Hiding Place.
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