Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom
Corrie ten Boom

Corrie ten Boom - Righteous Among the Nations
Born Cornelia ten Boom
15 April 1892(1892-04-15)
Died 15 April 1983(1983-04-15) (aged 91)
Orange, California
Occupation Author
Religion Christianity

Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom (Amsterdam, April 15, 1892 – Orange, California, April 15, 1983) was a Dutch Christian, who with her father and other family members helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. Her family was arrested due to an informant in 1944, and her father died 10 days later at Scheveningen prison where they were first held. A sister, brother and nephew were released, but Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where only Corrie survived.

Ten Boom wrote numerous books and spoke frequently in the postwar years about her experiences. She aided Holocaust survivors. She wrote an autobiography, The Hiding Place (1971), about her experiences. It was adapted as a film of the same name two years later and starred Jeannette Clift as Corrie.


World War II

In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Among their restrictions was banning a club which Corrie ten Boom had run for young girls.[1] In 1942, she and her family had become very active in the Dutch underground, hiding refugees. They rescued many Jews from the Nazi SS. They had long been involved in charitable work, and ten Boom had worked with disabled children. They believed the Jews were God's chosen people.[1] They provided kosher food for the Jewish refugees who stayed with them and honored the Jewish Sabbath.[2]

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. As Occupation authorities had recently visited her, she was afraid to return home. Having heard that the Ten Booms had helped their Jewish neighbors, the Weils, she asked if she might stay with the family. Corrie ten Boom's father readily agreed. A devoted reader of the Old Testament, Casper ten Boom believed Jews were "the chosen." He told the woman, "In this household, God's people are always welcome."[1]

Thus the ten Booms 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 Betsie began taking in refugees, some of whom were Jews, others members of the resistance movement who were sought by the Gestapo and its Dutch counterpart. While they had extra rooms in the house, food was scarce for everyone due to wartime shortages. Every non-Jewish Dutch person had received a ration card which was required to obtain weekly coupons to buy food.

Thanks to her charitable work, Corrie knew many people in Haarlem, and remembered a couple who had a disabled daughter. For about twenty years, Corrie ten Boom had run a special church service program for such children. The father was a civil servant who by then was in charge of the local ration-card office. She went to his house 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.'"[1] He gave them to her.

The secret room

Because of the number of people using their house, the Ten Booms built a secret room in case a raid took place. They decided to build it in Corrie's bedroom, as it was in the highest part of the house. This would give people trying to hide the most time to avoid detection (as a search would start on the ground floor). A member of the Dutch resistance designed the hidden room behind a false wall. Gradually, family and supporters brought 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 (76 cm) deep; the size of a medium wardrobe. A ventilation system allowed for breathing. To enter the secret room, a person had to open a sliding panel in a cupboard, and crawl in on their hands and knees. In addition, the family installed an electric buzzer for warning in a raid. When the Nazis raided the Ten Boom house in 1944, six people used the hiding place to evade detection.

Arrest and detention

The Nazis 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 her sister Betsie were sent to the Vught political concentration camp, and finally to the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. Corrie's sister Betsie died there on December 16, 1944. Before she died, she told Corrie, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."[1]

Corrie was released on New Year's Eve of December 1944.[3] 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."[1]


After the war, Corrie ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up rehabilitation centres. The refuge houses 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 a suburb of Orange County, California. Successive strokes in 1978 took away her powers of speech and left her an invalid for the last five years of her life. She died on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983.


  • 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. *The Ten Boom Museum in Haarlem is dedicated to her and her family for their work.
  • The King's College (New York) in the Empire State Building recently announced the addition of a new women's house named in her honor.

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 an encounter while she was teaching in Germany in 1947. She was approached by a former Ravensbrück camp guard, who had been known as one of the most cruel. She was reluctant to forgive him, but prayed that she would be able to. She wrote,

"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 rejected the doctrine that some asserted, of Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and wrote that it was without Biblical foundation.

She believes that such a 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.


  • A Prisoner And yet (1945)
  • Amazing Love (1953)
  • Not Good If Detached (1957)
  • Common Sense Not Needed (1957)
  • Plenty For Everyone (1967)
  • Marching Orders For The End Battle (1969)
  • Defeated Enemies (1970)
  • The Hiding Place, with John & Elizabeth Sherrill (1971)
  • Tramp For The Lord, with Jamie Buckingham (1974
  • Prison Letters (1975)
  • In My Father's House, with C.C. Carlson (1976), reprint 2011
  • Corrie's Christmas Memories (1976)
  • Each New Day 1977
  • Prayers And Promises For Every Day 1977
  • He Cares He Comforts 1977
  • He Sets The Captives Free 1977
  • Father Ten Boom: God's Man 1978
  • A Tramp Finds A Home 1978
  • Don't Wrestle Just Nestle 1978
  • This Day Is The Lords 1979
  • Clippings From My Notebook 1982
  • Not I But Christ 1983
  • Reflections Of God's Glory 1999
  • Messages Of God's Abundance 2002
  • I Stand At The Door And Knock 2008

Further reading

  • The Corrie Ten Boom Story: Turning Point by David Mainse 1976
  • My Years With Corrie by Ellen de Kroon 1978
  • Corrie: The Lives She Touched by Joan Windmill Brown 1979
  • The Secret Room: The Story Of Corrie Ten Boom 1981
  • Corrie Ten Boom: The Heroine Of Haarlem by Sam Wellman 1984
  • Corrie Ten Boom Speaks To Prisoners by Chaplain Ray 1985
  • The Five Silent Years Of Corrie Ten Boom by Pamela Rosewell Moore 1986
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith by Carole C. Carlson 1986
  • The Life Of Corrie Ten Boom by Kiersti Hoff Baez 1989
  • Corrie Ten Boom by Kathleen White 1991
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Paint The Prisons White by Jill Briscoe 1991
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Heroes Of The Faith by Halcyon Beckhouse 1992
  • Return To The Hiding Place by Hans Poley 1993
  • Corrie Ten Boom: The Watchmakers Daughter by Jean Watson 1994
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Faith In Dark Places by Sue Shaw 1996
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Anywhere He Leads Me by Judith Couchman 1997
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Keeper Of Angels Den by Janet & Geoff Benge 1998
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Shinning In The Darkness by Renee Meloche & Bryan Pollard 2002
  • Life Lessons From The Hiding Place: Discovering The Heart Of Corrie Ten Boom by Pamela Rosewell Moore 2004
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Heroes Of The Faith by Sam Wellman 2004
  • A Visit To The Hiding Place: The Life Changing Experiences of Corrie Ten Boom by Emily S. Smith
  • Corrie Ten Boom: Are All The Watches Safe by Catherine McKenzie 2006
  • Corrie Ten Boom (Chronicles Of Faith) by Kjersti Hoff Baez 2008


  1. ^ a b c d e f Corrie ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill (1971). "The Hiding Place". Guideposts Associates. ISBN 0-912376-01-5. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ten Boom, Corrie, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill (1976). The Jews whom the Ten Booms had been hiding at the time of their arrests remained undiscovered, and all but one survived the Occupation.

External links

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  • Corrie ten Boom — Corrie ten Boom, eigentlich Cornelia Johanna Arnolda ten Boom (* 15. April 1892 in Amsterdam; † 15. April 1983) war eine niederländische Christin, die während der nationalsozialistischen deutschen Besetzung der Niederlande eine… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Corrie Ten Boom — Corrie ten Boom, (Cornelia Johanna Arnalda ten Boom), née le 15 avril 1892 à Amsterdam, décédée le 15 avril 1983 à Orange (Californie), est un écrivain chrétien néerlandais qui a survécu à l holocauste et a aidé de nombreux Juifs à échapper aux… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Corrie ten boom — Corrie ten Boom, (Cornelia Johanna Arnalda ten Boom), née le 15 avril 1892 à Amsterdam, décédée le 15 avril 1983 à Orange (Californie), est un écrivain chrétien néerlandais qui a survécu à l holocauste et a aidé de nombreux Juifs à échapper aux… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Corrie ten Boom — Corrie ten Boom, (Cornelia Johanna Arnalda ten Boom), née le 15 avril 1892 à Amsterdam, décédée le 15 avril 1983 à Orange (Californie), est un écrivain chrétien néerlandais qui a survécu à l holocauste et a aidé de nombreux Juifs à échapper aux… …   Wikipédia en Français

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