Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom (April 15, 1892 — April 15, 1983) was arrested by the Gestapo for helping Jewish men, women and children escape the Nazi genocide during World War II. Corrie was eventually transferred to Ravensbrück, a German concentration camp where she and many women were victimized and forced into hard labor. Many women, including Corrie’s sister, died in that camp. Despite the “concentrated mass of problems and misery” that Corrie experienced during her imprisonment, in the video testimony below, Corrie shares how she learned that God’s love is deeper than any pit of evil or suffering we can face. Corrie also shares her reaction when one of the more brutal guards at Ravensbrück approached her after the war and asked her to forgive him.
Corrie as well as her father, brother and sister were imprisoned in various German camps and jails for helping Jews escape the Nazi’s genocide of an estimated six million Jews in WWII. Corrie’s father and sister died while imprisoned and her brother died from tuberculosis which he contracted after being released from a concentration camp. Out of 130,000 prisoners that passed through Ravensbrück, Corrie was one of 40,000 prisoners who survived the camp and was released. She described Ravensbrück as a “concentrated mass of problems and misery” and during her imprisonment there, Corrie witnessed and experienced repeated acts of evil and severe suffering.
Even though Corrie suffered indescribable injustices as well as severe physical and emotional pain and suffering, she spent her post-prison life preaching about God’s love and repeatedly proclaiming that the one thing she learned at Ravensbrück was:
“There is no pit so deep that the love of God is not deeper still.”
Besides talking about God’s love, Corrie’s other favorite topic was forgiveness. Forgiveness wasn’t something Corrie just talked about, it was something she implemented in her life. In 1947 when she was speaking in Berlin, a man approached Corrie and asked, “Do you know who I am?” It was then that Corrie recognized the man as one of the guards who had held her captive at Ravensbrück. In fact, the man was one of the more cruel guards who had committed horrible acts of cruelty against Corrie and her sister. When the man asked Corrie to forgive him, her immediate emotional reaction was a sense of hatred and bitterness. But then, the following words from Romans 5:5 resonated within her heart: “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” At that moment Corrie says she knew God’s love for the man was greater than her hatred for him. So, she looked at the man and said, “Brother, give me your hand.” As the man put his hand in Corrie’s, she told him, ” I forgive you everything.” In her book, The Hiding Place, she described what happened next:
For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.
In the YouTube video below, Corrie talks about her experience of helping thousands of Jews escape the horrors of the holocaust until she was betrayed by a man she had given her last “dime” to help. Corrie also describes how God was with her during her imprisonment and how God gave her the courage and grace to forgive those who had betrayed and brutalized her.
© 2012 by Andrina G. Hanson
Published: July 21, 2012 / Last Updated: April 28, 2013
CORRIE TEN BOOM RESOURCES
Corrie ten Boom, John F. John Sherrill and Elizabeth Sherill, The Hiding Place (Chosen Books; Anniversary edition, 2006)
Corrie ten Boom, Amazing Love: True Stories of the Power of Forgiveness (Christian Literature Crusade, 2007)
The Hiding Place, Jeanette Clift (Actor), David de Keyser (Actor), James F. Collier (Director) | Rated: NR | Format: DVD (Wesscott Marketing, 2008)
IMAGE CREDITS & LICENSING
Slideshow Photo: A photograph of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp by Norbert Radtke. Downloaded from www.commons.wikimedia,org which states the image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (CC-BY-SA-3.0)