Corrie ten Boom

Rescuer and Witness (1892–1983)
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Corrie ten Boom lived in Haarlem, Holland, with her older sister Betsie and their widowed father. They were devout Christians who measured their quiet lives by the plain values of the Gospel. With the Nazi occupation of Holland, that faith was put to a terrible test. 

While the occupation brought hardship for everyone, for Jews it meant something infinitely worse. Corrie prayed that some way would open for her to be of help. The opportunity came quickly when, one night, a Jewish woman knocked on her door, having heard that the ten Booms might offer shelter. Immediately Corrie invited her in. Others began to arrive. Corrie sought help from members of the underground who provided stolen ration cards and constructed an ingenious hiding space in an upstairs bedroom. But eventually, their luck ran out. They were seized by the Gestapo. Their father died ten days later. Corrie and Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. 

Betsie convinced Corrie that God was with them in the camp and that they had a mission to bear witness there to God’s love. “We must tell people what we have learned here,” she said. “We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that he is not deeper still.” Betsie died the next day. Corrie, however, by a mysterious fluke, found herself released. Returning home to wait out the war, she lived on for nearly forty years, traveling the world to bear witness to God’s love. She died on April 15, 1983. 

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”  

—Corrie ten Boom 

© Liturgical Press.

Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books and the author of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time; Blessed Among All Women; and The Saints' Guide to Happiness.

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