“I promise you that joy runs deeper than despair.”
Corrie ten Boom was born in the Netherlands in 1892. By the time she was thirty years old, she became the first woman to be licensed as a watchmaker, plying her craft carefully. That fact alone would make her special but there was more to this kind woman.
During World War II and the Holocaust, she and her family joined the Dutch underground hiding many Jews, saving eight hundred people. To safely hide them, they built a secret room, more like a narrow hallway or a closet, that was two feet wide and eight feet long. When the Gestapo searched the neighborhood, a buzzer would be sounded to warn the refugees to return to this secret salvation and remain quiet, the space only big enough for six or seven people. This arrangement worked well for about four years, but time was running out.
Like many resistance worriers, the ten Boom family were caught and arrested – their punishment – imprisonment in a concentration camp. Eventually, Corrie found herself at Ravensbrück, a notorious woman’s labor camp; she survived but several family members perished. Due to a clerical error, Corrie was released in 1944 and returned to the Netherlands where she spent time recuperating from her horrendous experience.
Her work was not finished. She set up a rehabilitation center for survivors and those who found themselves unable to earn a living; the center accepted anyone believing that the center was a haven for care. When the center was running well, she found time to travel sharing the stories of survival and forgiveness visiting more than sixty countries worldwide.
Her most heartwarming book, The Hiding Place (1971) was made into a movie a few years later. In her late seventies, she settled in Placentia, California in 1977. Corrie ten Boom died on her ninety-first birthday in 1983. Her childhood home in the Netherlands is a museum dedicated to remembering the Holocaust.
Life Lesson: her sister Bessie’s last words, dying at Ravensbrück were "… (we) must tell them what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”
I began writing my blogs for myself, for they brought me moments of reflection, hopefulness, and information through my care partner journey. I continue to write about what I have learned, what inspires me, and what keeps me going.