Corrie ten Boom

A great friend wrote this, just had to share 🙂

Corrie ten Boom was born in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, on April 15, 1892. She was the youngest of four children; she had a brother, Willem, and two sisters, Nollie and Betsie. A brother Hendrik Jan died in infancy. Corrie’s grandfather, Willem ten Boom, opened a watchmaker’s shop in Haarlem in 1837. In 1844, he began a weekly prayer service to pray for the Jewish people, who even then experienced discrimination in Europe. The family lived on the second floor, above the shop. Corrie ten Boom apprenticed as a watchmaker and in 1922 was named the first woman to be licensed as a watchmaker. Over the years, the ten Booms took care of many refugee children and orphans. Corrie taught Bible classes and Sunday school and was active in organizing Christian clubs for Dutch Children.

During the German blitzkrieg across Europe on May 1940, tanks invaded the Netherlands. Corrie, who was 48 at that time, turned their home into a safe haven for people trying to escape the Nazis. Dutch resistance members carried grandfather clocks into the watch shop. Hidden inside the long clock cases were bricks and mortar, which they used to build a false wall and hidden room in Corrie’s bedroom. Although it was only about two feet deep by eight feet long, this hiding place could hold six or seven people: Jews or members of the Dutch underground. The ten Booms installed a warning buzzer to signal their guests to hide, whenever the Gestapo (secret police) were searching the neighborhood. The hideout worked well for nearly four years but on February 28, 1944, someone betrayed the operation. Thirty people, including several of the ten Boom family were arrested. However, the six people hiding in the secret room escaped later by help of the Dutch resistance.

Over the next ten months, Corrie and her sister Betsie were shuttled from concentration camp to camp and finally ended up in Ravensbruck camp near Berlin, the largest camp for women in German-controlled territories. Betsie and Corrie conducted secret prayer services in their barracks, using a smuggled Dutch Bible. The women voiced prayers and hymns in whispers to avoid the attention of the guards. Corrie recalled they had to stand at roll call. One morning suddenly a skylark came and started to sing and they all looked up and she thought of Psalm 103:11 “For as the heavens high above the earth, So great is His Mercy toward those who fear Him.” On December 16, 1944, Betsie died of starvation and lack of medical care. Two weeks after Betsie’s death, Corrie was released from the camp due to claims of a “clerical error”, which she often called this occurrence a miracle. Shortly after her release, all of the other women in her age group were executed. 

Throughout 1947, she spoke extensively in Europe and became affiliated with Youth for Christ. It was at a YFC congress in 1948 that she met Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows. Graham would later play a major role in making her known to the world. From the 1950s through the 1970s, Corrie ten Boom traveled to 64 countries, speaking and preaching about Jesus Christ. Her 1971 book, The Hiding Place, became a best-seller. In 1975, World Wide Pictures, the film branch of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, released a movie version, with Jeannette Clift George in the role of Corrie. Her other published works were “In My Father’s Place” and “Tramp for the Lord”.

One of her notable quotes were “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” Her family home in the Netherlands is now a museum dedicated to remembering the Holocaust. Corrie was called Home by her Heavenly Father on April 15, 1983 in Santa Ana, California. Amen.