As the war ended, Corrie found herself alone back in her watchmaker’s shop. Although Willem had also survived, he died shortly after the war from an illness he contracted in prison.
One of Corrie’s nephews, Christiaan, who had also helped the ten Boom family’s efforts, died in a concentration camp in April 1945.
Corrie was honoured by the Queen of Holland as a heroine of the resistance. In 1968, she planted a tree in the Garden of Righteousness at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, in honour of the many Jewish people her family had saved.
As time went on, she spoke at an increasing number of events in churches and conferences, and became a highly sought after speaker. She also wrote a book, The Hiding Place, which told the story of her family’s heroic work during the war and became a bestseller.
The Hiding Place ends with a striking incident, which tells us about Corrie’s powerful Christian faith. At a church where she was speaking, Corrie was greeted by a man who had been a guard at Ravensbrück, who had since become a Christian. She found it the hardest thing in the world to shake his hand… but eventually she did:
As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me… And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness that the world’s healing hinges, but on God’s. When He tells us to love our enemies, he gives, along with his command, the love itself.
Corrie ten Boom’s example is not only one of compassion and courage, but of forgiveness. Until the day she died (on her 91st birthday) she maintained that all her compassion, courage and forgiveness came not from herself, but from God.
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Our famous follower in these pages is Corrie ten Boom, whose family courageously provided a refuge for Jews and others wanted by the Nazis during the German occupation of Holland in the 1940s.
These pages were written by Howard Ingham.
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