The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom with John & Elizabeth Sherrill

Cover ImageFinished 4-28-09, rating 5/5, autobiography, pub. 1971

“Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings, Corrie.  It’s something we make inside ourselves.”

Chapter 3

The ten Boom family was an institution in Haarlem, Holland.  The family had owned the watch shop for over 100 years and the current ten Booms had settled into a comfortable life.  Father, known as one of the finest watch makers in the country, and Mother, with her giving spirit even though her own health was weak, raised 4 children and welcomed two sisters into the tiny house behind and above the shop.  This is a family that knew how to take care of each other. 

By the time the Nazi’s occupied Holland only Corrie, the youngest and author, her sister Betsie and Father were left in the house.  The two oldest children, Nollie and Willem, had families of their own close by.  The ten Booms were faithful Christians, exemplifying the spirit of grace, compassion, and giving.  When the Germans began taking Jews from their small village the ten Booms were appalled.  When the first Jew appeared on their doorstep there was no question that they would take him in.  So, the word was out and more people in need began showing up and the ten Boom family home became the headquarters for the Jewish underground effort. By this time Corrie and Betsie were into their 50’s and Father 80’s.

Corrie and her family had a secret room built in the house, had an illegal telephone and radio, and had to make deals with sympathizers to obtain ration cards and shelter for those needing to hide.  The operation became quite large and it was only a matter of time before they were caught.  First, everyone in the family was rounded up and taken to prison and there they were split up.  After some time both Corrie and Betsie were taken to a camp in Holland and then on to a concentration camp in Germany. 

The one thing that sustained Corrie and her family was their faith in God.  This book is a beautiful tribute to the Christian spirit that they were willing to give and suffer so much in the face of hatred.  Corrie’s words leave an impact and she has much to teach us all about forgiveness, death, and loving your enemies.  I am sure that I will read this book again.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

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