Remembering Corrie ten Boom – 15th April

It was 40 years ago, on 15th April 1983, that Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch writer, watchmaker, and Holocaust survivor, died.  She wrote about her experiences in Christian books that became best-sellers.

Corrie’s family were Calvinist Christians in the Dutch Reformed Church, and served their neighbourhood by offering shelter, food and money to the needy.  They believed the Jews were precious to God and that all people were created equal.  During the Second World War, she – and the rest of her family – helped many Jews and others to escape from the Nazis at great risk to themselves.  She later received the rare accolade from Israel of being named Righteous Among the Nations.

The Dutch Resistance helped them to build a secret room in their house behind Corrie’s bedroom, which became known as The Hiding Place  which later became the title of her most famous book.  The room held six people, had its own ventilation, an alert buzzer, and was astonishingly successful.  It is estimated that about 800 Jews in all were saved through Corrie’s efforts, which included obtaining at least 100 false ration cards.

Eventually an informer gave them away, and the family was arrested in February 1944 – but not the six people in the Hiding Place at the time.  In September of that year, after months in prison, Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where they continued to worship and share the message of forgiveness, hope, love, and salvation. Betsie died in the December, but Corrie was released later that same month, apparently because of a ‘clerical error’.  A week later all the women in her age group were sent to the gas chambers.

After she was set free, Corrie travelled the world for 33 years, from 1944 to 1977, speaking in 64 countries.  She suffered three severe strokes from August 1978 and died on her 91st birthday.


The feature image for this post is “Ravensbruck Concentration Camp Memorial Main Building” (WikiCommons, PD).

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