Heroes of the Faith: Corrie ten Boom

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

-Corrie ten Boom

As a young girl, Corrie ten Boom never dreamed that she would someday share the gospel around the world. She had no idea that she would help rescue hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust. Nor did she know that her story of courage and faith would reach millions. Back then, she was just the youngest daughter of a Dutch watchmaker.

Here is the inspiring story of Corrie ten Boom.

Early Life

Born in 1892 in Haarlem, Holland, Corrie grew up in a devout Dutch Reformed family. They held a special respect for the Jews as God’s chosen people. The ten Boom family lived in a three-story brick home which had been in the family since 1837. Corrie’s father ran a watch shop downstairs, and the family lived in the rooms above it. From childhood, Corrie’s parents taught her and her siblings to serve others. They took in foster children, brought meals to sick families, and provided shelter for those in need. 

The First Female Watchmaker in Holland

As a young woman, Corrie learned the watchmaking trade from her father Casper. In 1922, she became the first licensed female watchmaker in Holland. During her spare time, she taught about the Bible in the public schools. Corrie also began clubs for youth, teaching them both the Bible and practical skills. At our church in North Sydney, we provide Sunday School and youth group to teach young people about the Bible.

Rescuing Jews during WWII

In the late spring of 1940, the Nazi Germans occupied Holland and its neighbouring countries. Immediately, they began to persecute Jews and limit the freedoms of ordinary Dutch citizens. Always sympathetic to the Jews, the ten Boom family began to play an active role in 1942. Their ancient home became a hiding place for Jews fleeing the Nazi regime. A secret room was built behind Corrie’s bedroom to hide the Jews. She also helped lead a network of safe houses. During this time, she and her family helped an estimated 800 Jews escape from the Nazis.

Imprisonment in Concentration Camps

One February day in 1944, Gestapo officers burst into the ten Boom home. They interrogated the family and kept the home under surveillance all day. At day’s end, they arrested 35 people. The entire ten Boom family was imprisoned, with Corrie and her sister Betsie being sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. She would spend almost 10 months there before being miraculously released in December of 1944. A week later, every woman her age was killed in the gas chambers.

Ministry After the War

After being released, Corrie returned to her native Holland to recover. In May of 1945, she purchased a home in Bloemendaal to house disabled people and survivors of the concentration camps. In June of 1745, Corrie published the first book of many about her experiences during the war. 

Beginning with a trip to the US in 1946, Corrie began travelling to share her remarkable story with Christians across the globe. She would minister in over 60 countries during the next 33 years. In December 1967, she was honoured with the designation “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel’s Yad Vashem Remembrance Authority. 

Legacy

Corrie retired in Placentia, California in 1977. She would spend the rest of her life there until she entered Heaven’s gates on April 15, 1983—her 91st birthday. Corrie left behind a legacy of courage, compassion, and unshakable faith. She has inspired countless Christians to take up their cross and follow Jesus, no matter what the cost. At our church in North Sydney, we want to follow in her footsteps.

__________________________________________________________________________

Will you live courageously as Corrie ten Boom did? Join the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church on Sundays at 11:00 am. 

For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com 

  1. Image Credits: By Unknown photographer – De geschiedenis van de familie Ten Boom (1921), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58051064