Corrie Ten Boom: Hiding Jews and Ravensbruck Concentration Camp

by happynutritionist

Corrie ten Boom and her family are known for helping Jewish people during WWII. She survived the notorious Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, she is loved by many...here's why.

When I was in college in the early 1970's, I had the privilege of going with a group of friends to hear Corrie ten Boom speak.

The movie, "The Hiding Place", tells the story about how the ten Boom family helped the Jews hide and escape to safety during these terrible years, and tells the complete story of their time in Ravensbruck. You must see the movie if you have not. It is a terrible and beautiful story all in one.

One memory I have from the time when I heard her speak is of a visual illustration using a glove. It just lay on the podium as she spoke when I saw her. At the right time, she reminded us that we are just like that glove without the presence of Jesus Christ in our life, empty, it is his Holy Spirit within us that brings real life, direction and purpose...as she is sharing this in her own words, she puts on the glove. What a wonderful memory, I'm glad I had that experience.

I hope you will enjoy the information on this page, and if you haven't read her books or viewed her story in movie form, please take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

by Claudia Meydrech a/k/a happynutritionist

New on Wizzley: November 2014 - Updated 8/11/15

The Early Life of Corrie Ten Boom

Her Family and Upbringing

Corrie ten Boom was the youngest of 4 children born in April on the 15th in 1892. She was the daughter of watchmaker and watch repairman, Casper ten Boom, a man who was loved by all who knew him, it seemed.

Corrie's sister, Betsie, whose birth name was Elisabeth, was born with pernicious anemia, but this did not stop her from being a delightful and creative woman who brought sunshine into the darkest of places, as you will learn if you read, listen to, or view "The Hiding Place". Corrie balanced her sister by being the more practical one, each had their own unique gifts and talents. There was another sister named Nollie, and a brother, Willem. All were born in the Netherlands. Corrie's mother was 63 when she died from complications of a stroke. You learn more about her in "The Hiding Place" as well.

The family lived above and about their father's watch repair shop on Barteljorisstraat 19 in Haarlem. They lived in somewhat crowded conditions...3 of Corrie's aunts on her mother's side lived with them.

Willem, Corrie's older brother, was the first in the family to become concerned about what the Nazis were doing and would do to Dutch in Holland, and even wrote his dissertation at the theological college he attended on racial antisemitism. Corrie's sister, Nollie, was a school teacher. She married a teacher and had 6 children. Betsie never married, and neither did Corrie, though in "The Hiding Place" she shares the story of her relationship with a man who loved her, but...well, read or listen to the book for the details:-)

Corrie helped her father in the watchmaking and watch repair business. Her eye for detail helped with this, and with managing the books. This ability of hers would be an asset to her when she was in the concentration camps later in life.

Corrie loved and served the Lord, and was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. This is information I gathered from reading and listening to "The Hiding Place".

Image Credit: Amazon - Amazing Love

The Hiding Place Movie Trailer

The Hiding Place - Movie, Book for Kindle, Study Guide

You may also want to search for this in audiobook format
The Hiding PlaceThe Hiding PlaceThe Hiding Place Study Guide

The Holocaust and Protecting Jewish Refugees

Corrie had a heart to help all in need

As Willem, Corrie's brother, predicted, the Nazis came into Holland and did what they are best known for, began to take the Jews from their homes and businesses to concentration camps. They took the Jews as well as those who helped them by hiding them, or by helping them get out of the country.

"The Hiding Place" shares how Corrie and her family became involved in the hiding of the Jews in their home. They knew from their Christian faith that these were special people to God, His chosen people, which added to their passion to help, though I'm sure they would have done so for anyone...and in fact, did. Corries love for people in need is seen throughout her book, from caring for the ill to her work with the handicapped.

It is a remarkable story, how the circumstances came together for Corrie and her family to hide Jews in their home. How the way was made for her to get enough ration cards to feed the people they were hiding. How they carefully planned just what they would do if the Nazi SS were to come to the door...they did drills to prepare for such occasions. In addition to Jews, they helped others who were part of the resistance movement against Nazi occupation of Holland. I don't want to spoil the story with more details. It is best to take it in as Corrie tells it.

A Quick Corrie Ten Boom Poll

  Display results
Thank you for sharing!

Corrie ten Boom's Bedroom and the Secret Room, Hiding Place from the Nazis

Protection from Nazi raids

Corrie describes in her book her bedroom, walking up narrow steps to get to the room, the small window she looked out at not such a wonderful view, but a view nevertheless. It is her room that became the "hiding place" because it was the top floor of the home, not easily accessible.

The room couldn't be used as it was, some construction had to be done to make it undetectable. With the help of a design by a member of the resistance, and by sneaking in materials in the most unusual ways, they were able to build a false wall, and put in a ventilation system so that when crowded in the cramped room, the refugees would be able to breath.

A cupboard hid the entrance to the room...a sliding panel was opened and the people had to crawl to the room. Since everyone was scattered throughout the house during the day, out in the open, a way to warn the people that the Nazis were at the door or near had to be arranged. This was done with a buzzer. It was this buzzer that sent 6 refugees to the hidden room when the ten Boom home was raided, and the ten Booms were removed...what happened to those refugees? You'll have to read the book or view the movie to find out...though I do think there was a bit more detail in the book.

Cory and Betsy Ten Boom - Common Errors in Spelling

I hope this will help people find this page even if they misspell the name

When I was searching on the internet, I found that quite a few misspelled Corrie Ten Boom's first name, spelling it Cory Ten Boom instead.

I would imagine her sister's name, Betsie Ten Boom could easily be misspelled Betsy Ten Boom.

Ravensbruck Concentration Camp

Notorious Women's Camp in Germany

As you read the following about Ravensbruck, and look at the statistics of those who survived and were released at the end of Nazi occupation of European nations, including Holland, you will realize what a miracle it was that Corrie Ten Boom was among the survivors.

Image - Women at work at Ravensbruck when it was in operation, a Wikimedia Commons photo.

 

Much of the following information is not found in Corrie ten Boom's books.

Ravensbruck, which is also spelled Ravensbrueck at times, was a World War II concentration camp, unique in that it wasn't common to have concentration camps devoted entirely to women. It was located in northern Germany near the village of Ravensbruck.

SS leader Heinrich Himmler oversaw the construction of the camp at the end of 1938. It opened in 1939, and a men's camp was built next to it in 1941.

In the approximately 6 years of operation, over 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbruck camp system. Less than 1/3 of these woman survived. Polish women made up a majority of the inmates, though there were women representing all German occupied European countries in Ravensbruck.

Children were also present in the prison camp, arriving with their mothers who were Jews and sometimes Gypsies. Some were born to women who were imprisoned while pregnant. At the beginning there were few children, but as time went on almost every nation in Europe that Germany occupied had children confined in the prison camp.

According to Wikipedia, "Among the thousands executed by the Germans at Ravensbruck were four female members of the British WWII organization Special Operations Executive: Denise Bloch, Cecily Lefort, Lilian Rolfe and Violette Szabo. Other victims included the Roman Catholic nun Elise Rivet, Elisabeth de Rothschild (the only member of the Rothschild family to die in the holocaust), Russian Orthodox nun St. Maria Skobtsova, the 25-year-old French Princess Anne de Bauffremont-Courtenay and Olga Benario, wife of the Brazilian Communist leader Luis Carlos Prestes. The largest group of executed women at the Ravensbruck camp was composed of 200 young Polish patriots who were members of the Home Army.

"Among the survivors of the Ravensbruck camp was Christian author and speaker Corrie ten Boom. Corrie ten Boom and her family were arrested by the Nazis for harboring Jews in their home in Haarlem, the Netherlands. The ordeal of Corrie and her sister Betsie ten Boom in the camp is documented in her book "The Hiding Place" which was eventually produced as a motion picture. Countess Karolina Lanckoronska, a Polish art historian and author of Michelangelo in Ravensbruck also was imprisoned in the camp from 1943-1945."

A Virtual Tour of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp

Information about the Nazi Death Camp Trials for Female SS Officers

Ravensbruck happened to be the only concentration camp in Germany solely for women, and it was the place that the Female Nazi SS Supervisors, all women, were trained. After the war, there were war crime trials for many of the Nazi SS, both men and women. More than a few thousand woman were trained at Ravensbruck.

Ravensbruck began it's operation in 1938, and was liberated by the Russian Army in April of 1945. If my facts are correct, over 200 female SS officers were executed for their crimes...a small number when compared to the over 90,000 victims of the Ravensbruck death camp, not to mention the other concentration camps that the female Nazi SS were assigned to after training at Ravensbruck.

What impacted you the most about Corrie Ten Boom's Story?

So many wonderful comments were lost when I moved this page, I hope for many new ones!

   Login
I just want to share something about Corrie Ten Boom:
Always-Writing on 12/27/2014

I read Corrie Ten Boom's books to my children when they were growing up, and we have seen "The Hiding Place" several times. She is a tremendous inspiration to anyone suffering religious or ethnic persecution.

Corrie is one of my top favorite female Christian "warriors"!

The thing that had the greatest impact on me was:
LindaSmith1 on 12/12/2014

I was 19 when my boss, who was Jewish, told me to go see The Hiding Place movie. She told me that I would learn the truth by watching it, but warned me of the violence I would see, but it was necessary to tell the real story. It was amazing to find out how Corrie Ten Boom managed to survive. Everyone who has not read the book or seen the move should do so.

Telesto on 11/20/2014

It never ceases to amaze and delight me that, for as many people who will do bad and evil things, there are more who will do good.

WriterArtist on 11/20/2014

He really was a brave soul.

Where to Find Corrie Ten Boom Quotes

The great wisdom and faith of Corrie Ten Boom is found in many quotes attributed to her through her life and books

Corrie Ten Boom Quotes from ochristian.com

24 Favorite Quotes by Corrie Ten Boom from whatchristianswanttoknow.com

Quotes by Corrie Ten Boom from goodreads.com

A few of my favorite quotes:

“Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.”

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

“There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.”

 

Was Corrie Ten Boom Jewish?

An understandable question to ask

You may wonder whether Corrie Ten Boom was a Jew. Corrie's father, Casper Ten Boom, was known to wear a Jewish Star or Star of David to show his love and concern for the Jewish people. Though he and his family, including Corrie Ten Boom and Betsie Ten Boom, hid and helped the Jews, the family was not Jewish. They were Dutch and members of the Dutch Reformed church.

Image byluigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Listen to Corrie Ten Boom Share her Testimony and Story in her Own Words

What a joy it was to find his video of Corrie Ten Boom sharing her testimony, and it's full length! Like being there listening to her in person again.

Corrie Ten Boom Facebook Page

Go to page then "Corrie Ten Boom + Others" to see comments by everyone
Updated: 08/11/2015, happynutritionist
 
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?
8

We hope you enjoyed your visit and love hearing from our guests!


   Login
happynutritionist on 02/03/2015

@sandyspider She truly was a remarkable woman, and gives all the credit to God, not her own strength.

happynutritionist on 02/03/2015

@Always-Writing Thank you very much, I have been absent from here due to family emergencies for a bit as you can see, appreciate your visit and comment, yes, she is/was a wonderful woman of God.

sandyspider on 01/15/2015

Interesting review of this courageous woman and her family.

Always-Writing on 12/27/2014

Love this article, and I have always loved Corrie Ten Boom!

happynutritionist on 11/24/2014

@dustytoes It is a very hard but also inspirational story if you find the time to read it, view the movie or even listen in audiobook, I've listened and watched the movie.

dustytoes on 11/22/2014

Corrie ten Boom has a very inspirational story and I have heard of her, but I'd love to read her book to learn more.

frankbeswick on 11/21/2014

She may well have met Corrie, but since she has died, I cannot ask her.

happynutritionist on 11/21/2014

@frankbeswick Oh my, and it seems even more so these days. I guess just like many who were in battle during the war find it hard to share their stories, so would people like her. Corrie was an exceptional exception, and one wonders if your friend ever met her. The conditions were so deplorable.

frankbeswick on 11/21/2014

She spoke little, only to say that she had been there. But once in the 1980s when she was telling me that she, a woman in her sixties, had been verbally abused by two louts on a bus she said that she had seen their type before, but then they were wearing SS uniform. In saying this she alerted me to the dangers lurking in all societies, including ours.

happynutritionist on 11/21/2014

@Raintree I'm glad you took time to listen to the video, she was/is a precious woman of strength and faith.


You might also like

My Spiritual Journey through Works of Art

Let me take you on a personal journey through inspirational art that I love, ...

The Best of the Star Wars Series in Pop-Up Books

The Star Wars phenomena began in the 1970's and will be revisited once again ...


Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...
Error!