Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Corrie ten Boom

Today, April 15, is the date of both the birth and death of Cornelia “Corrie” Arnolda Johanna ten Boom (1892-1983), who was honored in 1967 as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.”

Ten Boom was born in Amsterdam and grew up in the Dutch city of Haarlem. After training with her father, ten Boom became the first woman to become a licensed watchmaker in the Netherlands.

When the Nazis marched into the Netherlands in May 1940 and began implementing their Nazification program, the ten Boom family (her father Casper, her sisters Betsie and Nollie, and her brother Willem) began sheltering Jews and resistence members from the Nazis. Eventually, they created a secret room, a tiny space suitable for up to six people, built into Corrie ten Boom’s attic bedroom. 

On February 28, 1944, based on the word of a Nazi informant, the Gestapo raided the ten Boom house. Around 30 people - the family, friends, neighbors who had come for a prayer meeting - were arrested. Those hidden in the attic, however, remained safe and were later assisted by other members of the resistance. Most of those who were arrested were released that day, but Casper, Betsie and Corrie remained in custody. Shortly thereafter, Casper ten Boom became ill, was sent to the hospital and died there only 10 days after the arrest.  The sisters remained in  the Scheveningen prison for three months before being transferred first to the internment camp at Vught and then to the Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp in Germany.  

Corrie ten Boom was released from Ravensbrueck in 1944, twelve days after her sister Betsie had died. Ten Boom returned to the Netherlands where, after the war, she worked to help those who had survived the concentration camps. She began a world-wide ministry and became an international speaker. She was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands and wrote a best-selling book, The Hiding Place.

In 1977, ten Boom moved to Placentia, California, where she passed away a few years later on her 91st birthday.

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