Worldchanger of the Week: Corrie Ten Boom
World War II. A time in history where death ran rampant, and hatred was widespread. Hitler’s Nazi Party rose to fame, and the European nations enacted “the final solution”, in which millions of Jewish people were killed in concentration camps. Yet beyond the fog of intolerance and unchecked hatred lay a courageous family: the Ten Booms.
Cornelia “Corrie” Ten Boom was born into a religiously devout family in the outskirts of Haarlem, Netherlands. She had two sisters, Betsie and Nollie and a brother, Willem. Her father was a jeweler and a watchmaker, and their family lived in rooms above his shop. Their faith inspired them to reach out to the less fortunate and show love to all who you meet. Instead of viewing the Jews occupying the Netherlands as filthy animals, the ten Booms viewed them as God’s chosen people.
In 1922, after the death of her mother, Corrie ten Boom became the first female licensed watchmaker. While working in her father’s shop, she started a youth club for girls which provided the teenagers with spiritual, cultural, and educational tools.
All was going well, until World War II seeped through the nation. “Nazification” came with the German victory over conquered providences like the Netherlands, and the Ten Booms were faced with a choice to make: would they conform to the menacing pattern of the world or stand up for what they knew was wrong?
Corrie Ten Boom knew she could not see injustice happen and remain silent. She took a leap of faith, knowing that what she was about to do could cost her not only her own life, but the life of her brother and sisters as well. Secretly, she built a secret room with a ventilation system behind her bedroom that held up to six people. Jewish fugitives would come to her home and then hop to the next “safe house”. Through her courageous acts, 800 Jews were saved from concentration camps.
However, she and the rest of the Ten Boom family were caught by the Gestapo. Thankfully, the half dozen Jews were not found, and were later rescued by another Dutch family. The father was put into prison, where he passed away. Corrie and Betsie were located to the Ravensburg concentration camp, where her sister passed away but Corrie was miraculously released.
After her release, Corrie Ten Boom traveled around the world, inspiring others to love one another. She wrote a memoir called The Hiding Place and set up a rehabilitation center for concentration camp survivors.
Corrie Ten Boom changed the world for many Jewish people and echoed love into a world that swallowed hate.