STORIES
Faith Heroes

Corrie Ten Boom

by Julia from Riley

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength."
Ten Boom family safehouse  (http://www.corrietenboom.com/history.htm)
Ten Boom family safehouse (http://www.corrietenboom.com/history.htm)

Imagine living in Holland during World War II at the time when Hitler was in control. There’s not a day that goes by you don’t fear for your life because of him. That’s what it was like for Corrie Ten Boom. She was born April of 1892 during this time period. She and her family were members of the Dutch Reform Church, which protested Nazi persecution of the Jews and strongly believed that all humans are equal before God. Corrie Ten Boom was a selfless individual because she opened up her home to protect others, witnessed to fellow prisoners in concentration camps, and started a world-wide ministry sharing what she learned during these difficult times.

Betsie, Corrie, Nollie and Willem. (http://www.corrietenboom.com/exhbits.htm)
Betsie, Corrie, Nollie and Willem. (http://www.corrietenboom.com/exhbits.htm)

After World War II began, Corrie Ten Boom and her family got involved in resistance efforts. Their home became a safe house for the Jews and Dutch underground workers being hunted by the Nazis. Corrie and her family were in constant danger, and their lives were at risk because of their willingness to help these people. During the years 1943 and 1944 there were about six to seven people living illegally in the Ten Boom’s house on any given day. Corrie spent her time leading the network of the Dutch underground workers. She was in charge of finding places for refugees to stay, getting ration cards to feed them, and building hiding places in homes. Unfortunately, their great effort was put to a stop in February of 1944. A man came to Corrie pretending to need her help, and she believed him. It turns out, the man was a spy working for the Nazis, and he betrayed the Ten Boom family later that day. The Gestapo, or Nazi police, raided the safe house and arrested Corrie’s family and several others in the house. By evening close to 30 people had been taken into custody. Luckily, there were six refugees hidden behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom that weren’t discovered by the Nazis. They were able to survive thanks to the Ten Boom family. During the year and a half Corrie and her family hid prisoners, they saved the lives of an estimated 800 Jews and protected many Dutch workers.

Because the family was discovered housing refugees illegally, they were imprisoned. Corrie’s father Casper died after only 10 days in prison when he was 84 years old. Corrie and her sister Betsy were taken to three different concentration camp, the last one being the infamous Ravnesbruck Concentration Camp in Germany. The prison was literally a living nightmare, but Corrie and Betsy made the best of it. During the evenings, Corrie would use their secret Bible to hold worship services. At first they were very cautious, and afraid of being caught. But as the nights went on, no guard discovered them and their little Bible study group soon grew into a packed crowd. These services gave great encouragement to the other prisoners, and through this many people became Christians.

Corrie in her travels (http://www.corrietenboom.com/exhbits.htm)
Corrie in her travels (http://www.corrietenboom.com/exhbits.htm)

Unfortunately, Corrie’s sister, who was never very healthy, grew weaker and weaker. Betsey died in December of 1944. Due to an administration error Corrie was released from the camp just one week before all the other women her age were killed. She came home with the realization her life was a gift from God, and she needed to share what she and Bestey had learned while in Ravensbruck: "God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies." and "There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still." When Corrie was 53, she started a world-wide ministry testifying God’s love and giving encouragement to everyone she met with. She visited over 60 countries throughout the next 33 years of her life. Corrie was even able to get a home for former inmates where they could come together and heal from their experiences during the war. She received many tributes throughout her life, and retold her story in the autobiography The Hiding Place. Corrie Ten Boom died April 15, 1983, on her 91st birthday.

Corrie Ten Boom was a selfless individual because she opened up her home to protect others, witnessed to fellow prisoners in the concentration camp, and started a world-wide ministry showing what she learned during these difficult times. She wanted everyone to know that she believed in the forgiveness God has for us, even though all have sinned. Corrie is a great example to us all. She was willing to put everything aside to help others, no matter what the cost.

Page created on 1/21/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/21/2012 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Extra Info

Newspaper Article: March 5, 1944

Last week, the Ten Boom’s house was raided by the Gestapo (Nazis). We have received information that the family has been harboring Jews and members of the Dutch Underground Railroad for over a year and a half now. Corrie Ten Boom, who is the daughter of Casper, has been involved with the Dutch underground for some time now. Witnesses say she has been finding places for Jews to stay and dealing with stolen ration cards in order to feed them.

On February 28, a man came into the Ten Boom family’s shop pretending to be desperate for their help. He is actually a quisling, or an informant that has been working for the Nazis since day one. The man betrayed the family later that day. The Gestapo raided the safe house and arrested the entire family, Dutch Underground resistance workers, and other acquaintances of the family that had been there for a prayer meeting. They were able to arrest about 30 people to take into custody. The Gestapo have been thoroughly searching the house the past several days looking for hidden refugees. It is suspected there are still Jews well hidden in the Ten-Boom household. As of now, they have not been able to find anyone else, but they are not ready to give up the search yet.

By: Julia Satzler