STORIES
Faith Heroes

Corrie ten Boom

by Rachel from Poway

Corrie ten Boom (http://www.photosforsouls.com/the-hiding-place.html))
Corrie ten Boom (http://www.photosforsouls.com/the-hiding-place.html))

"It was a long time ago. I have almost forgotten my dream. But it was there then, In front of me, Bright like a sun-- My dream. And then the wall rose.  Rose slowly, Slowly,Between me and my dream. Rose until it touched the sky-- The wall. Shadow. I am black. I lie down in the shadow. No longer the light of my dream before me, Above me. Only the thick wall. Only the shadow. My hands! My dark hands! Break through the wall! Find my dream! Help me to shatter this darkness, To smash this night, To break this shadow. Into a thousand lights of sun, Into a thousand whirling dreams Of sun!" ("As I Grew Older" by Langston Hughes). To me a hero is not fearful, a hero is someone who can stand up for those who are weak. Some on like my hero: Corrie ten Boom. This woman saved hundreds of lives and changed millions. She was not afraid to break the barrier between the people around her and the hope they sought. Prior to World War II, Corrie ten Boom and her family lived a quiet life and often conducted Bible classes and prayer meetings in an effort to share their Christian faith with their community. But with the 1940 Nazi takeover of the Netherlands, the ten Booms' gentle life became one of intrigue and danger. The family built a bookcase on the third floor of their home, behind which they hid Jews from Nazi officers. About one hundred locals assisted the ten Booms, and their work saved an estimated seven hundred lives. In 1944 the Nazi police, called the Gestapo, discovered the ten Booms' participation in the Dutch underground smuggling system and arrested the entire family. Ten Boom and her sister were moved to a concentration camp in Holland and then later to Ravensbruck in Germany, where her sister passed away due to severe illness. Ten Boom was later released as the effect of a paperwork error. Upon her release Corrie ten Boom helped establish a refuge for Dutch war victims, and then began touring the world and speaking about her survival experience. In addition, she wrote numerous books, including her autobiography The Hiding Place, which became a bestseller ("Corrie ten Boom"). Corrie ten Boom inspired those around her by being humble and courageous and, in doing so, she encouraged those who were dismayed by the loss around them. She healed from her scars of war and torture, but continued on to help those whose cuts were deeper. Corrie ten Boom, a humble Christian leader, dedicated herself to the lives of others. When the hope of the Jewish people had shattered, Corrie ten Boom became a hero in disguise and showed through her actions of humility and courage, how one should sacrifice themselves for those who are broken.

The hiding place. (http://www.google.com/imgres?q=The+hiding+place+in+holland&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw ())
The hiding place. (http://www.google.com/imgres?q=The+hiding+place+in+holland&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw ())

 

"Let God's promises shine on your problems" (Corrie ten Boom). Ten boom's words were clearly reflected in her actions as many difficult circumstances came her way. Let God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomLet God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomLet God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomLet God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomLet God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomLet God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomLet God's promises shine on your problems ~Corrie Ten BoomDuring 1940, Germany conquered the entire country of Holland, and the quiet lives of the ten Booms were changed forever. Over the course of 1 year, the Nazis began imposing curfews and food rationing, confiscating property, as well as inflicting harassment towards Jews. Ten Boom felt compelled to help those who were being disgraced, so she took action. Her participation in Harlem's underground resistance movement started because of her acts of kindness in giving temporary shelter to her Jewish neighbors who were being driven out of their homes. Soon the word spread, and a multitude of people came to her home seeking help and shelter. After a year and a half, her home developed into an underground organization, where she found herself dealing with hundreds of stolen ration cards each month to feed the Jews that were hiding in underground homes all over Holland. Corrie ten Boom had great courage to be able to stand up for those who needed her, and although her strength may have seemed unorthodox, she proved to be a vital asset to the rescue and revival of many. She showed great courage when it was needed most.

A German Concentration Camp (http://www.google.com/imgres?q=concentration+camps&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1 ())
A German Concentration Camp (http://www.google.com/imgres?q=concentration+camps&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1 ())

"...[She was] not just a 'sweet little grandmother,' but a two-fisted old Dutch soldier for Christ" (Carole C. Carlson). Carlson depicts how Corrie ten Boom possessed a trait that was rare at that time: her undying strength. On February 28, 1944, ten Boom sick with the flu, awakened to the sound of German voices screaming orders, and prepared herself for the worst. All she could process was the feverish image of six people fleeing past her bed and vanishing behind the sliding door into the hidden room. She was taken from her room and subjected to endless questioning by the Nazi police, called the Gestapo. Ten Boom and her sister were moved to a concentration camp in Holland and then later to Ravensbruck in Germany. They lived under conditions of near-starvation, backbreaking manual labor, and vermin infestation. Still, they held Bible study groups and continued to spread hope all around them. Soon her sister passed away due to severe illness and ten Boom was alone. Despite being presented with the most sorrowful situations, she never gave up. Her flea-infested cell, while a disgusting torture for most,  was a miracle for ten Boom, resulting in her ability to preach the word of God. At first, the dreadful bugs were accepted with great sorrow and pain, but it came to realization that none of the guards would dare to inspect the prisoners due to the pests. This allowed ten Boom to be able to preach  to those around her, without discouragement from any of the officers. Corrie knew that God had put her there for a reason and her spirit defied her circumstances. Even in a concentration camp no one could put out the flame of perseverance that seemed to emanate from her. Since I have not felt or witnessed her pain, I can never truly know how Corrie ten Boom faced every day. But what I do know about happened in the camps and it inspires me that a woman of her age could endure that much all at once and never feel an ounce of resentment toward God. Ten Boom was blessed because she glorified God even in her struggles and God gave her opportunities to be able to preach in the camp. Others at the camps may have been blinded to the miracles as a result of the sorrow that had numbed them, but ten Boom saw the light in the darkness and never doubted God in her time of desperation.

Ten Boom's best-seller: The Hiding Place ( http://www.google.com/imgres?q=the+hiding+place+book&hl=en&biw=1669&bih=846&gbv=2&tbm=)
Ten Boom's best-seller: The Hiding Place ( http://www.google.com/imgres?q=the+hiding+place+book&hl=en&biw=1669&bih=846&gbv=2&tbm=)

             By what was likely a clerical error, ten Boom was released on Christmas Day of 1944 and put aboard a train to Berlin. She was later informed that one week after she was released all the women in her age group were shot to death. With this revelation, she realized that without God's provision, she would have been killed as well. She has given me a spark of courage because she was so strong despite the way people thought of her. Once ten Boom was released from the concentration camp she felt that she was called to tell others about her story so that it would bring hope and inspiration to those who had none. She began to travel the world and to write books about her eventful life, ensuring that her legacy would live on. Ten Boom's work for God seemed to never cease, she felt that by speaking and writing books she was fulfilling her calling for Christ. Still active in charitable causes, she founded a refuge house for concentration-camp survivors, and another to give shelter to the Dutch who had collaborated with the Germans during the occupation. She wrote several books about her faith, but The Hiding Place remains her most successful. Published in 1971, it sold well and was made into a 1975 film. Ten Boom funded further missionary work with the proceeds. It has become clear to me that God did not release ten Boom from the concentration camp because of her good actions, but because of her faith. She showed the heart of someone who had learned from her scars, rather than regretted them.

Corrie ten Boom (http://blog.mawbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/post.corrie_ten_boom2.jpg ())
Corrie ten Boom (http://blog.mawbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/post.corrie_ten_boom2.jpg ())

"Somewhere between beautiful humility and an almost unbelievable strength and indomitable spirit was the real Corrie" (Carole C. Carlson.). Ten Boom demonstrated an immense strength in her faith, which inspires me to mirror her actions toward God. She never doubted in the strength of God, because she knew He was ultimately stronger than any of the problems she encountered. Ten Boom shocked those who heard her story because the typical response to a plea from a Jew, at that time, was mostly ignored for fear of putting one's life at risk. She brought light to small places in a big world. This daring hero showed that through bravery, strength, and tremendous faith, you can defy those who believe that can define you. Corrie ten Boom lived the exemplary life of a humble Christian leader who dedicated herself to the lives of others. When the rock-solid authority of the Nazis shattered all hope for the Jewish people, Corrie ten Boom sacrificed herself, despite the pain, to transform the broken pieces into the mural of hope we admire today.

 

 

Page created on 4/25/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/25/2012 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Wikipedia - For more about the life and work of Corrie ten Boom.