Author: Corrie ten Boom

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place
Published: 1/1/1971
During the World War II, Corrie Ten Boom and her family helped many Jews escape Nazi Germany. They were eventually captured and sent to concentration camps. The books isn't about the horrific conditions inside the camps though (even if it gives a very graphic account of it), it's about the grace of God that has enabled her to survive, live without bitterness, and find the strength to forgive.

I bought a copy of this book through my Kindle a few weeks ago. I haven’t heard of Corrie Ten Boom until Philip Yancey mentioned her in one of his books that I read a few years ago, but I had forgotten all about her until now. I bought the ebook because it popped up in my recommended books, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional journey it was going to take me on from the first page to the last.

The book’s first scene opened on the 100th anniversary of their family business, Ten Boom Horlogerie. The first few pages made a great impact on me because Corrie was able to describe the warmth and light that pervaded her community before the holocaust, and at the same time, inserted little glimpses of the near future that awaited her, her family and friends, like thin slivers of shadows in a beautifully-lit scene. I loved the way that she narrated the story of her life and described people. I found myself laughing out loud at her descriptions sometimes. She had this wholesome, delightful humor that wasn’t trying hard to be funny. In fact her story telling technique was so fluid; she wasn’t trying to be profound, she was just trying to tell her story. She had me both laughing and crying while reading the book.

She picked an interesting time to start her narration, because it described very well how that hateful darkness had begun take root. It shows how something can start out as a tiny dark cloud in the horizon, catching people unaware until it’s upon them. Corrie’s family is amazing. Their devotion to God, their desire to live in a way that pleases Him, their humility in surrendering their lives as a tool for His good work, everything about their testimony as individuals and as a family left an indelible mark on me.

This book details how the horror of the Holocaust unfolded around them, first as an angry voice on the radio from another country, until it crept into their home. The thread that weaves the chapters together is God’s grace, and the journey through the book from start to end was life-changing. Though the book tells of the heartbreaking experiences inside the concentration camps, when viewed in the light of God’s love, the family’s baffling, grace-filled reaction to an unspeakably horrible experience becomes easier to understand.

It’s definitely a must-read.