Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Hiding Place

I first saw the review for this book in Bethany's blog. Thanks for writing about it and making me want to read it Bethany. It was a fabulous book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

The Hiding Place is a memoir of Corrie ten Boom. For the first 50 years of her life, Corrie had a very normal life. She was a spinster and lived with her aged father and another spinster sister (Betsie) in a fascinatingly rundown house in Haarlem in Holland called the Beje. I absolutely loved the quirky house. I could never do adequate justice to the description. Alongside is a recent picture of the Beje (Which is now a museum). It is hard to imagine that a house so small had so much happening inside it!

The picture alongside is a picture of Corrie's parents. Corrie's mom died when she was 63 but not before teaching Corrie and Betsie the importance of being generous and nice to people. Even when she was bedridden with no ability to talk, she remembered the birthdays of the destitute and made Corrie write little notes wishing them. Corrie's father has a watch repair business and was loved by everyone in Haarlem. He was a very simple man and loved his job. He sometimes even forgot to take money for the repairs he did and never thought of anyone as competition. It is tough to find such simplicity these days. Everyone seems to be driven by the need for money. It is sad how our society has become such a money-centric society!

Anyways, during World War II, when the Jews were trying to escape from the Nazis, Corrie helped them hide. She even had a secret room built in the Beje and hid Jews there with an elaborate warning system. The picture alongside is an image of Corrie's room along with the secretroom (Seen beyond the wall). The Beje is now a museum.
Unfortunately, they were discovered and Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Concentration Camp.

Nothing but pure unadulterated faith kept them going. They survived hardships and worked hard but never lost faith. They smuggled in a little bible with them and read it everyday to other women in the camp. Little messages from the Bible were taken and practiced. It really was fascinating to see the power of faith. Faith gave them a reason to survive and go on living even under the darkest circumstances.Even though Corrie was in charge of the Beje operations, Betsie suddenly seemed to be the stronger one when they were in the camp. Through all hardships, she somehow managed to keep her faith intact and her optimism and her faith were infectious. She harbored no bitter thoughts towards anyone and even felt sorry for her prosecutors. To be like Betsie is so tough. Unfortunately, Betsie did not survive the camp. She died a few months before Corrie was released.

But Corrie went on to honor Betsie's dream. She spent the rest of her life helping those affected by the Holocaust and by talking about what she and Betsie had learnt in Camp. She travelled widely and spread her message throughout the world! She died when she was 91 years old.

I think this book is a must read for everyone. It is very inspiring. I know there are loads of people who think that once they are 50, their life is done. Corrie's life actually started when she was 50! This was an absolutely fascinating book. I want to watch the movie that was based on this book as well.. I wonder if they actually shot it at the beje.. anybody knows anything about that? Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it?

If you haven't read this one as yet, go and grab a copy and read it right now!!


bermudaonion said...

I saw this on Bethany's blog, too. With recommendations from 2 bloggers I respect, it is definitely going on my wish list.

avisannschild said...

This sounds like a fascinating book! Thanks for the review.

Red lady-Bonnie said...


What a wonderful review...I appreciated seeing the pictures also! I read this book a long time ago in my early 20's. The faith that Corrie shows in her life is amazing. I think that I need to re-read it at this stage of my life as I am now in my 40's. It is a book that definitely gives you perspective on life and faith!

Ramya said...

@bermudaonion - it is an amazing. I knew i would like it when i read Bethany's blog but didn't think i'd like it this much!

@avisannschild - do read it!:) seriously!

@bonnie - i would be curious to see what you thought of it when you re-read this book. it is a very inspiring book..:)

bethany said...

Ramya!!! Your review was so amazing that it brought tears to my eyes to remember what those two women of faith did in walking how they were supposed to. I loved this book, LOVED it. It inspired me, still inspires me. Yes I agree that it is a must read!

You certainly did an amazing job in your review. I am so glad you liked the book :)

ps since the whole deal with your blog with blogger and all I had not realized but you are no longer on my reader! ahhh! so sorry:( I didn't know until today! I was trying to figure out what had happened to you, and it was just that I wasn't subscribed.

I am heading over now to fix it. :)

Corinne said...

I have been meaning to read this for ages. Great review :)

Ramya said...

@bethany - i guess i can't thank you enough. I loved reading your review and knew i just HAD to read this one! i absolutely loved it too!

@corinne- what are you waiting for?? read it soon! it is an amazing book!:)

Trish said...

Beautiful review, Ramya! I'm so glad that this one touched you as well. I read this one several years ago on my mom's recommendation and I'd love to revisit it some time.

Ramya said...

@trish - this is a sure universal favorite..:) i learnt so much from the book..sometimes it is so easy to be carried away from the basic needs of mankind. this book firmly grounds us and tells us what is important!:) loved it!:)

Anna said...

I'm always looking for inspiring Holocaust stories. Thanks for the review. This one is definitely on my list!

Diary of an Eccentric

Ramya said...

@anna - i knew you'd like this one!:) you should definitely read it!:)