"" Writer's Wanderings: The Netherlands--Corrie Ten Boom House

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Netherlands--Corrie Ten Boom House

From the train station we hurriedly pass through the streets of Haarlem taking care not to make a wrong turn. Time is of the essence. We must arrive at our destination by 15:30. We turn a corner and it is there!

The little clock shop, its wooden fa├žade bids us welcome. We turn into the alleyway and see others milling about. In the window to the left of a green door sits the triangular sign with the word Alpina in black letters against a white clock face on a red background. It is the name of a brand of clock but to the Jews who passed through this alley, it was the word for freedom—the signal that the passageway to freedom was safely open.

A lovely white-haired Dutch lady opens the door and bids us enter. We climb a steep narrow staircase to a small hallway entrance with a dining room on one side and a sitting room on the other. We pause briefly to imprint in our minds the linen-covered oak table and cabinets in the dining room and then are directed to the sitting room where we are made comfortable in chairs.

For the next twenty minutes or so, our hostess, Betty, tells us the incredible story of the Ten Booms and their part in helping many Jews escape the Nazis who pursued them. The story is not only spellbinding, it is also interlaced with the message of the love of God for all of us. It is what Corrie Ten Boom would tell us were she there to do so. It is the message that she shared while sharing her experiences in the Nazi camps where she and her sister were taken after their home was searched and too many ration cards were found. The Gestapo never found the six Jews in the special hiding place in the wall.

The hiding place from which Corrie Ten Booms most popular book got its title is a space behind her bedroom wall barely large enough for person to stand in. It is here that the six Jews ran when given the warning that the Gestapo were at the door. Ducking through a small crawl space beneath the last shelf in a linen closet, they scurried through to the small space and there waited until after the Ten Booms were arrested and another Jewish sympathizer was able to free them.

Corrie lost her father and her sister but she returned to this little home and determined she would continue to spread the word of God’s love and His presence in even the direst of circumstances. Betty ends her story with the account of Corrie meeting the guard of the prison camp who had treated them so badly. He had become a believer and begged her forgiveness. It was a difficult thing for Corrie to do but she found freedom in forgiving him.

I glance back at the little triangular sign in the window as we leave. Freedom has a different meaning now.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

More posts from the Netherlands:
Amsterdam, City of Canals
Anne Frank House
Windmills - Zaanse Schans
Historic Triangle

1 comment:

Adele Etherton said...

I've not only read her story, but each and every time I hear it again, it make my heart hurt. God uses everything, and now He is using you. Thanks for the message

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