My husband and I recently returned from a breathtaking cruise of the Rhine River from Amsterdam, Netherlands through Germany and France to Basel, Switzerland. We basked in the beauty of more than 7 million tulips blooming at Keukenhof Gardens, marveled at the 13th-century Gothic architecture of the Cologne Cathedral,
spotted 30+ medieval castles along the spectacular 80-mile river gorge,
and delighted in the brush strokes of such artistic giants as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh,
while intermittently feasting on French pastries and warm German “apfelstrudel”with vanilla sauce. (#happyhusbandesserts)
But during our three days in Amsterdam and our week down the Rhine River, the most beautiful sight–which literally brought tears to my eyes– was not a wonder of nature nor a human masterpiece. It was the memory of a person.
Corrie Ten Boom.
If you’re already familiar with the Dutch woman known mainly from The Hiding Place book and movie, I don’t really have to explain why it was such a thrill to stand on the same floors she walked more than 70 years ago. Tears filled my eyes as I stared into the actual hiding place where Jews and members of the Dutch resistance were safely tucked away from the Nazis (left photo). Let me share a little of that story from the website for the Ten Boom Museum shown below:
During the Second World War, the Ten Boom home (above the family jewelry business) became a refuge, a hiding place, for fugitives and those hunted by the Nazis. By protecting these people, Casper and his daughters, Betsie and Corrie, risked their lives. This non-violent resistance against the Nazi-oppressors was the Ten Boom’s way of living out their Christian faith.
During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually 5-6 people illegally living in the Ten Boom home: some of whom were Jews and others members of the Dutch underground. Additional refugees would stay with the Ten Booms for a few hours or a few days until another ‘safe house’ could be located for them.
Through these activities, the Ten Boom Family and their many friends and co-workers of ‘the BeJe group’ saved the lives of an estimated 800 Jews and other refugees.
On February 28, 1944, the Ten Boom Family was betrayed and the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the Nazis raided their home. That day, more than 30 people were arrested, among whom were father Casper and Betsie and Corrie, his two daughters that were living at home. Corrie’s brother Willem, sister Nollie and nephew Peter were at the house that day and were also taken to prison.
Although the Sicherheitsdienst arrested many visitors, they could not find who they were really after. Safely hidden behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom (entrance was through a removable bottom shelf) were two Jewish men, two Jewish women and two members of the Dutch underground. Although the house remained under guard by the Sicherheitsdienst, members of a local police resistance group were able, by cunnings means, to liberate the refugees from the ‘hiding place’ 47 hours later. The four Jews were taken to new ‘safe house’, and three survived the war. One of the underground workers was killed during the war years, but the other survived. (The photo shows how narrow the hiding place was and wall stencils illustrate how six people stood inside for two days.)
Ten days after his arrest, father Casper died in Scheveningen Prison. Betsie and Corrie also spent some time in that same prison. From there, they were transported to camp Vucht and then to the notorious Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in Germany.
Life at Ravensbrück was almost unbearable, but Betsie and Corrie spent their time sharing Jesus’ love with their fellow prisoners. Many women became Christians in that terrible place becauce of Betsie and Corrie’s witness to them. Betsie died at Ravensbrück (age 59) but Corrie miraculously survived.
After her release from Ravensbrück Concentration Camp (age 53) Corrie travelled all around the world to tell everyone that “there no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and that “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.” In more than 30 years, Corrie visited over 60 countries to testify to God’s love an to encourage people with the message that “Jesus is Victor.” On April 15th, 1983, on her 91st birthday, this remarkable woman died in Orange, California.
I cannot wait to meet this amazing woman in Heaven one day. I pray her story encourages you to believe that God’s love can reach into your or your loved one’s deep pit and to trust Him to be your safe hiding place.
You are my hiding place and my shield. I wait for your word. Psalm 119:114
For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. Psalm 32:7
He has hidden me in the shadow of His hand. Isaiah 49:2
(To read more about the Corrie Ten Boom Museum, go to https://www.corrietenboom.com/en/home. Her author page on Amazon.com lists her many books.)
(If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzqpkMJxyss)