What I Saw At Corrie Ten Boom’s Hiding Place

Apr 23, 2024 by

by Jonathon Van Maren, First Things:

Eighty years ago, on February 28, 1944, the Nazis arrested a Dutch family in Haarlem in the Netherlands. The eighty-four-year-old watchmaker Casper ten Boom—known as “Haarlem’s Grand Old Man”—and his daughters Betsie and Corrie (ages fifty-eight and fifty-two), had been hiding Jews; six people were huddled in a tiny secret room behind a false wall in Corrie’s top floor bedroom. It would become known to millions of people as “the hiding place”; those who sought safety there called it “the Angel’s Den.”

The story of the ten Booms is one of extraordinary power: of a family sacrificing all for the Jewish people, of faith and courage under brutal conditions, of seemingly impossible forgiveness. It is a story for all times, but especially for our times, as anti-Semitism rears its ugly head once again. The tale has already been told by Corrie herself in six books, including The Hiding Place (1971), which sold over three million copies; a film of the same name; and memoirs by her nephew Peter Van Woerden and by Hans Poley, one of those who survived the Nazis thanks to the Angel’s Den in the ten Boom house.

Surprisingly, it has taken a long time for a comprehensive popular biography to arrive. But now, we have Larry Loftis’s The Watchmaker’s Daughter (2023), an excellent retelling. It pulls together details from a range of sources to provide a readable and powerful narrative. Loftis begins with Casper’s father Willem, who opened the watch shop—referred to by all as “the Beje”—in 1837. Willem’s Dutch Reformed pastor asked him to start a prayer group for the Jewish people. “You know the Scriptures tell us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the blessing of the Jews.”

Read here


Related Posts


Share This