“The Hiding Place”: Inspiration amid the Evil of the Holocaust

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The Hiding PlaceThe Hiding Place is a memoir by Corrie ten Boom, with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, about her experience leading the movement to rescue Jews in her city of Haarlem, Netherlands during World War II. Though a formerly inauspicious spinster in her 50s, this inspiring woman learned strength of the Lord and led hundreds of citizens in rescuing hundreds more Jews from the murderous arrests of the Nazis. Eventually, she was caught, and she, along with each of her family members, was sent to multiple concentration camps. Along with her sister Betsy, a woman of incredible faith and compassion for her enemies, Corrie suffered in several camps before finally getting released. She spent the rest of her life helping victims of the Nazis deal with the incredible trauma they experienced and spreading the awareness of not only the evil she encountered, but the faithfulness of God and forgiveness towards one’s enemies.

I read this book, first published in 1971, several times as a pre- teen and teenager, but this was my first time reading the book as an adult, as I listened to it with my husband, to whom I introduced this book for the first time. I was struck by several impressive traits I saw in Corrie as she talks about the amazing faith of her family. This strong woman shows great humility in her recounting of events, always playing up the strengths of her family while looking inside herself to recognize her own weaknesses. She talks about how, after witnessing Nazis abuse prisoners, both she and Betsy would express sympathy and the desire to help them, especially setting up places for healing after the war. It would only be after discussion that the pair of sisters would realize that they were talking about two different “them”s. While Corrie wanted to help the victims, Betsy wanted to help the abusers because they must really be suffering a lot in committing such horrible sins.

The Hiding Place helps us see how God will use us as he sees fit and will provide the resources, both physical and spiritual, for us to fulfill our calling. Corrie lived over half a century as an unassuming clockmaker with a high school education. However, when she was needed to lead one of the fights against the evil of the Holocaust, she found the strength internally and the connections she needed externally to carry out the position as one of the top leaders of the resistance in the Netherlands. This serves as an effective reminder and encouragement to Christians that God will provide whatever we need whenever we need it in order to follow his leading.

I was inspired to revisit this book when I saw that one of my favorite narrators, Bernadette Dunne, performs the audio edition. Though considerably younger than the senior citizen Corrie who tells her own story in this book, Dunne convinces us, the listeners, that she herself is Corrie. She takes us to Haarlem and immerses us in this already- compelling book. Since The Hiding Place is an intense book, Dunne made the wise decision to limit dramatic emotions in her performance and leave the content of the book to draw us into the story itself.

The Hiding Place is a highly inspiring book that all Christians should read to learn about living for Christ sacrificially and trusting in him to provide for our needs in carrying out his missions for us. If you’re not a Christian, I still recommend this book because you will appreciate reading about the movement to rescue Jews in the Netherlands during the Holocaust and strength amid the extreme evil found in the concentration camps. As long as you recognize that what inspired Corrie’s actions was her deep faith in Jesus Christ, you can truly appreciate this inspiring book. I give it and its audio edition five stars.

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