The Life of Corrie ten Boom
Born on April 15, 1892, Cornelia ten Boom was the subject of many conversations.”She’s so small.” “She’ll never amount to anything!”Oh, she will, “Casper ten Boom smiled lovingly at his baby daughter.”Just give her time.” Casper and his wife, Cor, already had 3 children, Willem, Betsie, and Nollie. Like his father, Casper was a watchmaker. His shop was in the family’s large and unusual old house, called the Beje. (Pronounced Bay- Yay)They lived in Haarlem, Holland. Casper and Cor used every opportunity to bring their children to Christ. When Corrie was 5, she accepted Jesus into her heart. Corrie soon learned to enjoy school. School continued at home, as Casper and Cor taught their kids languages such as French, English, and German. They also taught them to play piano, and sing. Corrie’s Tante (Aunt) Jans taught the girls hymns to sing to Dutch soldiers as part of an outreach. Betsie and Corrie taught the Bible to young kids.
One morning when Corrie was 17, she awoke feeling dizzy. Nollie entered the room.” Corrie, are you all right? “Corrie tried to sit up, but she couldn’t. Nollie ran for Cor. “Mama, Corrie’s sick!””Oh, I’m sure it’s just flu, but we’ll call the doctor anyway.”After the doctor examined her, he talked to Casper privately for a few minutes.”Well, Papa, wasn’t it just flu?””No, Corrie, you have tuberculosis!” Poor Corrie was confined to bed for months. Her friends and family prayed for her every day. When the doctor came to reexamine Corrie, he was very surprised.”Appendicitis, Corrie! Not tuberculosis! I’ll operate, and you’ll be good as new.” The next few years brought changes. Willem married Tine. Nollie became a teacher.WW1 rocked Europe. The ten Booms prayed for the soldiers and people in war torn countries. They thanked God that Holland remained neutral. They put their prayers into action after the war by having German foster children. Then Corrie met a man her age named Karel. Soon Corrie was in love. It seemed they were perfect for each other. But Willem knew better. “Corrie, he can’t marry you. His parents want him to marry someone rich and high in society.”Corrie shook her head. But Willem was right. Soon an engagement announcement came in the mail. Corrie was heartbroken. She soon recovered and decided to become a watch maker. She was the first female watch maker in Holland. With Betsie’s help, she started Christian clubs for children. Many kids came to Christ. Everything was normal until Germany invaded Holland.WW2 had arrived! Holland surrendered. The streets were swarming with Nazis. When Corrie saw the evil men vandalizing their friend, Mr. Weil’s shop, she and the other family members hid him and helped get him to safety. Soon they were all members of the Dutch Underground, or the anti-Nazi movement. A secret room was built in their home, and since the Beje was so unusually shaped, no one could detect it. Soon many Jews were safely hidden in the walls of the Beje. One day, as Corrie headed upstairs from the watch shop she heard a knock. A strange man stood there.”My wife – she is Jewish. Can you help her?” Corrie arranged for help, then went to bed. Suddenly, people raced to the secret room seconds before Nazis rushed in. The strange man had been a spy!! Corrie, Betsie, and Casper were arrested, as were the 2 workers in the watch shop. (Cor had died of a stroke years before.) Then, Willem and his wife with their grown children, then Nollie’s family entered. They were all arrested and sent to prison. A few months later, Corrie learned wonderful news. With the exception of her and Betsie, all the ten Booms were free. And, the others were working hard to free them. Then, sad news. Casper had died of natural causes just 9 days after being arrested. (Cor had died of a stroke years before.) Then, the sisters were sent to a German concentration camp. They were often mistreated. Betsie became ill, but the two sisters continued to preach God’s love. They used a tiny Bible smuggled to them by Nollie. Betsie became sicker until she died. Corrie was in despair. She walked as if in a daze. Corrie hardly heard her name as she and a few other women were called out of roll. She wondered what they were calling her out for. Then, she found out why. Corrie was free! Soon, home at the Beje, Corrie found that she’d been released by mistake. Corrie knew it was no accident- God was using her experiences to help bring others to Christ. She wrote books and many people were inspired to do great things, but even more inspiring was the little lady who wrote them-Cornelia ten boom, who’s aunt thought she’d never amount to anything.