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Cornelia Ten Boom, generally known as Corrie ten Boom,(April 15, 1892 – April 15, 1983) was a Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. In December, 1967, Ten Boom was honored as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel. In 1970, Ten Boom co-wrote her autobiography, The Hiding Place, released in 1971 and which was made into a movie of the same name two years later starring Jeannette Clift as Corrie.

Contents

Her early life

Corrie ten Boom was born on 15 April 1892 around Haarlem, in the Netherlands, as the youngest of four children. Her mother died of a stroke at the age of 63. Her father Casper ten Boom was a well-liked watch repairman, and often referred to as "Haarlem's Grand Old Man". Her older sister, Elisabeth (Betsie), was born with pernicious anemia. They had two siblings- a sister, Nollie, and a brother, Willem. They lived in a house on Barteljorisstraat 19 with three of her mother's sisters: Aunt, or Tante, Jans (pronounced 'yunss'), Anna and Bep. Willem graduated from a theology school and warned the Dutch that unless they took action, they would fall to the Nazis. He wrote a dissertation on racial anti-Semitism at theological college in 1927 in preparation for his ordination. He married a woman named Tine and together had four children. Nollie, a school teacher, married a Flip, a fellow teacher and they had six children one of which was named Peter. Corrie and Betsie never married.

Corrie began training as a watchmaker in 1920 and in 1922 became the first female watchmaker licensed in the Netherlands. She was a very devout Christian and an active member of the Dutch Reformed church. In 1923, she helped organize girls' clubs, and in the 1930s these clubs grew to become the very large Triangle club.

Holocaust

In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and banned Corrie Ten Boom's club. In 1942, she and her family had become very active in the Dutch underground, hiding refugees. They rescued many Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazi SS. They helped Jews because of their veneration for God's Chosen People (though the Ten Boom family was known for their gracious character towards all, especially the handicapped), and even provided kosher food and honored the Jewish Sabbath. The Jews hid in a room that the ten Boom family had built in Corrie's bedroom for them by an architect belonging to the Dutch Resistance. The room was the size of a medium wardrobe, 75 cm (30") deep, with an air vent on the outside wall.[1] The Nazis never found this room because the only entrance was a small hatch which slid open to let the Jews in and out. Also, the room was built in a special way that could make it seem like no one was in there when the Nazi officials would bang on the walls. They would bang on the walls to find out if there were any hollow spaces that could have held Jews.

Harboring refugees

In May 1942, a well dressed woman came to the Ten Boom door with a suitcase in hand. She told the Ten Booms that she was a Jew and that her husband had been arrested several months before, and her son had gone into hiding. Occupation authorities had recently visited her, and she was too fearful to return home. After hearing about how the Ten Booms had helped their Jewish neighbors, the Weils, she asked if she might stay with them, and Corrie ten Boom's father readily agreed. A devoted reader of the Old Testament, Casper ten Boom believed Jews were indeed "the chosen," and told the woman, "In this household, God's people are always welcome."

Thus began "the hiding place", or "de schuilplaats", as it was known in Dutch (also known as "de Beje", with Beje being derived from the name of the street the house was in, the Barteljorisstraat). Ten Boom and her sister began taking in refugees, some of whom were Jews, others members of the resistance movement sought by the Gestapo and its Dutch counterpart. There were several extra rooms in their house, but food was scarce due to wartime shortages. Every non-Jewish Dutch person had received a ration card with which they could procure weekly coupons to buy food.

Corrie knew many in Haarlem, thanks to her charitable work, and remembered a couple who had a developmentally disabled daughter. For about twenty years, Corrie ten Boom had run a special church service program for such children, and knew the family. The father was a civil servant who was by then in charge of the local ration-card office. She went to his house unannounced one evening, and he seemed to know why. When he asked how many ration cards she needed, "I opened my mouth to say, 'Five,'" Ten Boom wrote in The Hiding Place. "But the number that unexpectedly and astonishingly came out instead was. 'One hundred.'"

The Germans arrested the entire Ten Boom family on February 28, 1944 at around 12:30 with the help of a Dutch informant. They were sent first to Scheveningen prison (where her father died ten days after his capture). Corrie's sister Nollie, brother Willem, and nephew Peter were all released. Later, Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Vught political concentration camp (both in the Netherlands), and finally to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany on December 16, 1944, where Corrie's sister Betsie died. Before she died she told Corrie, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." Corrie was released on New Year's Eve of December 1944.[2] In the movie The Hiding Place, Ten Boom narrates the section on her release from camp, saying that she later learned that her release had been a clerical error. The women prisoners her age in the camp were killed the week following her release. She said, "God does not have problems. Only plans."

Post-war

After the war, Corrie ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up rehabilitation centres. This refuge house consisted of concentration camp survivors and sheltered the jobless Dutch who previously collaborated with Germans during the occupation. She returned to Germany in 1946, and traveled the world as a public speaker, appearing in over sixty countries, during which time she wrote many books.

Ten Boom told the story of her family and their work during World War II in her most famous book, The Hiding Place (1971), which was made into a film by World Wide Pictures in 1975.

Life After The War

In 1977, Corrie Ten Boom, then 85 years old, moved to Orange, California. Successive strokes in 1978 took away her powers of speech and communication and left her an invalid for the last five years of her life. She died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983.

Honors

The State of Israel honored Ten Boom by naming her Righteous Among the Nations.

Ten Boom was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in recognition of her work during the war, and a museum in the Dutch city of Haarlem is dedicated to her and her family.

Religious views

Her teaching focused on the Christian Gospel, with emphasis on forgiveness. In her book Tramp for the Lord (1974), she tells the story of how, after she had been teaching in Germany in 1947, she was approached by one of the cruelest former Ravensbrück camp guards. She was reluctant to forgive him, but prayed that she would be able to. She wrote that,

For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.

She also wrote (in the same passage) that in her post-war experience with other victims of Nazi brutality, it was those who were able to forgive who were best able to rebuild their lives.

She was known for her rejection of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine. Her writings claim that it is without Biblical foundation, and she has claimed that the doctrine left the Christian Church ill-prepared in times of great persecution, such as in China under Mao Zedong. She appeared on many Christian television programs discussing her ordeal during the Holocaust, and the concepts of forgiveness and God's love.

Bibliography

  • Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, The Hiding Place, Guideposts Associates, 1971. ISBN 0-340-17930-9, ISBN 0-340-20845-7
  • Corrie ten Boom with Jamie Buckingham, Tramp for the Lord, 1974, Hodder and Stoughton, London.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Not Good If Detached, Christian Literature Crusade, 1980.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Amazing Love, Christian Literature Crusade, 1982.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Defeated Enemies, Christian Literature Crusade, 1983.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Common Sense Not Needed-Revised, Christian Literature Crusade, 1994.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Marching Orders for End Battle, Christian Literature Crusade.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Plenty for Everyone, Christian Literature Crusade, 1980.
  • Corrie ten Boom, In my Father's House, 1976.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Each New Day, 1981.
  • Corrie ten Boom, Father Ten Boom, God's Man, Fleming H Revell Co, 1978.

References

  1. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A622388
  2. ^ Ten Boom, Corrie, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill (1976). However, the Jews they had been hiding at the time of their arrests remained undiscovered, and all but one survived the Occupation.

External links


Simple English

Cornelia Johanna Arnolda ten Boom (or just Corrie ten Boom) (April 15, 1892April 15, 1983) was a Dutch Christian Holocaust survivor. She helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II. Ten Boom co-wrote her autobiography, The Hiding Place. It was later made into a movie of the same name. In December of 1967, Ten Boom was given the award of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel.








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