This is the season where there are a multitude of inspiration post about love, sacrifice and salvation. As a person I'm extremely inclusive and that also reflects on the type of writings I choose to do here on this blog. I make every effort to create content that are enjoyable to all no matter what background, faith, culture or walk of life you are from. So in the spirit of inclusivity, I've decided to veer away from doing what everyone else is doing and writing about the cross or salvation or using lots of Christian talk. Interestingly enough the people I'm about to introduce to you today were all about inclusivity....the Ten Boom Family.
Pretty much if you're Christian or from Holland the story of Corrie Ten Boom should ring a bell. The Ten Boom family had a famous watch shop in Holland (the watch shop is still there) and during world war 2 played an active role in helping Jews in hiding. Eventually they created a false wall that would serve as an escape route if ever their home was searched. The false wall became known as "The Hiding Place".
In Dec 2013 during a wk in Amsterdam I took a train to Haarlem and got to see the Hiding Place. The Ten Booms house and watch shop is still standing and I sat in the very living room the Ten Booms once sat hearing tales of this extraordinary family.
Eventually they were found out and arrested for helping the Jews. There are amazing stories of their family life before their arrest and also incredible stories of what happened in the concentration camp at Ravensbruck where Corrie and Betsie would find themselves. For the purposes of length I'll give you the highlights. All the rest of the story can be read in the book "The Hiding Place"
1. When Corrie and Betsy arrive at Ravensbruck the women are being stripped of all personal items. Corrie was holding a massive Bible, big bulky and obvious. She thought surely it will be confiscated. When it gets to her turn the Nazi guard doesn't seem to see it and ushers her to go through. The woman behind her had something tiny and it got taken away. It was as if the Bible was completely invisible to the guards.
2. The sisters at one point get thrown into living quarters full of fleas. Corrie is disgusted but Betsy says "We must thank God for the fleas". Within the concentration camp they had a secret Bible study. The camp forbid Bible studies so they knew it was at great risk. Everyone elses's living quarters regularly got checked but theirs was never checked so the Nazis never discovered that a Bible study was going on. Later on it was discovered that the Nazis didn't check their quarters due to the fleas.
3. At one point the women are in desperate need of vitamins. Corrie discovers a bottle dispenser that had abit of vitamin left in it that she could disperse in drops to the other women. The bottom of the bottle was very dark and it was hard to see what was left. But each day no matter how much she dispensed there was always drops of vitamins that came out from the bottle. It seem to have no end
Then one day they discovered bottles of vitamin tables made available to them. That same day when Corrie went to use up the last of what was in the vitamin dispenser no drop ever no matter how much she shook the bottle.
Betsy was weakening very fast in camp and she told Corrie that before the end of the year they would both be free. And indeed it came to past, Betsy's body gave out at the camp and Corrie was released from the camp Dec 31st, 1944. A few yrs later after the war was over Corrie went back to the camp to find out more details about her release. She discovered that her release had been a "clerical error", a wk later all the women her age were sent to the gas chambers.
I normally don't post this many pics but today I did because I wanted to give you an idea of what it was like inside "The Hiding Place" At one point in the story 6 people hid in here for 48 hrs not knowing if they came out they would be discovered and arrested or if the house was under surveillance.
To finish this post off I'll share with you parts of the story of the Ten Boom family that really moved me. When the Ten Booms were first arrested, one of the officers says to Corrie and Betsy's ailing father "OK, since you're an old man we are willing to let you go as long as you promise not to be helping any more jews". To which Casper replies "If you let me go today, I'll open my door to anyone that knocks."
One of the greatest examples of forgiveness is when Corrie and Betsy witness a nazi guard beating one of the prisoners. Betsy begins to pray for their soul. But at one point Corrie realizes that Betsy isn't praying for the soul of prisoner who was being beaten, she was praying for the soul of the Nazi guard who was doing the beating.....
"There is no pit that He is not deeper still"
-Betsy Ten Boom