Thursday, October 30, 2008
The Hiding Place
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!!