Corrie Ten Boom Her testimony in her own words Full Length
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Uploaded on Feb 1, 2011
Cornelia "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.
n 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 (while this is the name given in her book, the actual name of the furrier across the street was N Weill & zoon), 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 Béjé", pronounced in Dutch as 'bayay', an abbreviation of 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.'"
Because of the number of people using their house as a safe place from the Nazis, the Ten Booms were encouraged to build a secret room in case a raid took place. After inspection, it was decided that the room would be built in Corrie's bedroom, as it was in the highest part of the house, which gave people who were trying to hide the most time to avoid detection (as a search would start on the ground floor). The hidden room was behind a false wall, designed by a member of the Dutch resistance. They were able to sneak bricks and other building supplies into the house by hiding them in briefcases and rolled up newspapers. When finished, the secret room was about 30 inches deep; the size of a medium wardrobe. A ventilation system allowed for breathing. To enter the secret room, a person would have to open a sliding panel in a cupboard, and crawl in on their hands and knees. In addition, an electronic buzzer was installed to give the house's residents warning of a raid. When the Nazis raided the Ten Boom house in 1944, six people used the hiding place to escape detection.
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. 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."
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