THE HIDING PLACE:
Bantam Books October 1974
Reviewer Sissy Jacobson
How many of you have heard of Corrie Ten Boom? How many have read her work, been inspired, shared her books with others, admired her, but have forgotten about her through the years? I belong in this category. I had forgotten all about her until last week when my younger son phoned and asked me if I had ever read THE HIDING PLACE. Someone at work recently told him how much she enjoyed this book. He bought it at Books-A-Million, read it, and was so inspired by it, he passed it on to me. Some of us have grown comfortable and settled in our Christianity. I firmly believe, in order to wake up His Church, God is again using Corrie Ten Boom.
The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The Ten Boom family of old Haarlem, Holland, practiced this in the way they lived their lives and in their dedication to the Lord. Every morning following breakfast and every evening following dinner, the family gathered to hear the father read from the Bible and pray. Corrie’s father and mother set the examples that would carry their children through the nightmares they would face later in life.
THE HIDING PLACE begins with the one-hundredth anniversary celebration of the watch shop located on the first floor front of the Beje, (pronounced Bay-yay). This crazy, crooked house is one room wide and three stories tall, with an added back section that makes no architectural sense. It once held the six Ten Boom family members plus three of their mother’s sisters. Now only three live here: Corrie, forty-five years old, her sister Betsie, fifty-two, and their father who is now seventy-seven. It is 1937 and the first whispers of war are being heard. Most are certain Holland’s neutrality will be honored. Some know better.
As the Germans sweep into Holland, lives are irrevocably and forever changed. The Ten Booms begin hiding Jews in their home…some temporarily, others semi-permanently. Working in “God’s underground,” Corrie finds a strength she never knew she possessed. We live with the Ten Booms through the changes WWII brings into their lives, the chances they take, but most of all, we see the guiding hand of the Lord every step of the way. Betsie, the sister who has been sickly all her life, has the faith, the serenity, and the complete conviction that the Lord is always there in every circumstance. This faith takes Corrie and Betsie through the hardships they endure in the prisons and concentration camps where they are incarcerated. While Corrie tends to pray for their needs, Betsie prays for their enemies, whom she sees through God’s eyes…the guards, everyone who mistreats them, even thanking God for the fleas in their bunks. Corrie was given a Bible, a sweater, and a bottle of liquid vitamins by their sister Nollie the last time they saw her before deportation. The Bible was never taken away. It was as though the guards did not see it. Corrie doled out the vitamins, a drop at the time, to her sister. As more women became ill from malnutrition, hard labor, and depravation, Corrie reluctantly began giving them drops of the vitamins from the small bottle. And just like in the Book of Kings where, after the widow of Zarephath gave Elijah the last of her food, her jar of meal stayed full and her cruse of oil never failed, the vitamins lasted and lasted, far beyond what that little bottle could hold. Miracle after miracle, large and small, kept coming their way. Bible studies were never stopped by the guards…one reason was the miracle of the fleas. Betsie had thanked God for the fleas; later they learned the guards wouldn’t come in the room where their bunks were because it was infested with fleas.
As Betsie relied on Corrie’s physical strength, Corrie relied on Betsie’s spiritual strength. Together they won untold numbers to Christ under the most horrific circumstances any human can face. The Lord gave Betsie a vision of what they must do following their release from prison. To Corrie, she described in detail this vision and the settings where they were to carry out God’s will. Every detail was carried out in full by Corrie Ten Boom.
Corrie Ten Boom shared her amazing story and all its intimate recollections with authors John and Elizabeth Sherrill, whose previous books include THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE, THEY SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, and GOD’S SMUGGLER. THE HIDING PLACE can be purchased at Amazon as well as other stores that carry inspirational books.
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