“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path….
Thou art my hiding place and my shield…”
(from Psalm 119:105 and Psalm 32:7)
The Hiding Place is a terrible book from the standpoint of how it tells of the atrocities of Nazi Germany against the Jews and others during World War II. It is a wonderful book because it tells the true story of how Corrie ten Boom and her family, who were non-Jews, stood up for what was right placing their lives on the line for the Jewish people. The questions it raises are would our faith be strong enough to trust God to protect us? Would we be willing to die for what we believed in? Corrie and her family passed this test of faith with flying colors.
The story opens in the ten Boom’s modest house in Holland in 1937. The downstairs was the shop where clocks and watches were sold and repaired. The upper two floors were home to Corrie, her parents and Corrie’s siblings, Willem, Betsi and Nollie, her three aunts and eventually many Jews hiding from the Nazis. The book is filled with suspense when Corrie, Betsie and their father, Casper, after successfully hiding many Jews from the Nazis, both in their house and other safe-houses are eventually taken by the Germans and placed in a concentration camp. Casper, who was 84, died 10 days after his arrival. Betsie lived longer while in a prison camp but only Corrie lived to tell their story after being released. However, Betsie’s faith in God and her desire to tell others about her father’s saying of: “The best is yet to be” with God in charge was the inspiration for the two sisters to accomplish what they did. It alone was a miracle that Corrie lived to the age of 91 considering that she, the youngest of five children, was expected to be an invalid who would die soon after her birth.
Corrie, despite the horrible conditions she lived under with the Nazis, had her spirit lifted in many ways: a squeeze of her hand by a doctor on her birthday, being able to hold Bible studies and passing out tracts and pages of the Bible while in prison, the aid by the wealthy Mr. Pickwick and other people who were supposedly obedient to the Nazi cause but showed kindness and protection to Corrie.
This reader could not help but think of the pictures in our history (as well as detailed in the book) of emaciated Jews who were nothing but skin and bones and of the millions who were buried in mass graves after being killed.
Your spirits will be lifted near the end of the book when you read of how Betsie’s three visions, which she communicated to Corrie while in a prison camp, actually came true after Betsie’s death.
The greatest testimonial for Corrie ten Boon was her faith in God and her travels throughout the world after being released from prison to tell the world about her faith and the experiences she had gone through. Also of great importance is in her final years, after a series of strokes when in her 80’s, Corrie was paralyzed and could not talk. People came from all over the world to encourage and comfort her. Those people left feeling more encouraged than they thought they had encouraged Corrie!
Jeff Hall, of Honey Brook, contributes book reviews to Tri County Record.