Hey y’all! Happy Monday and Happy Memorial Day, folks! I know the Ten Boom family wasn’t American, but this seems like a good way to remember all the sacrifices people have made for freedom. I’m so thankful for everyone who has served our country.
Welcome to part two of The Hiding Place
. Click here
for part one.
We had a guided tour through the Beje, so when our tour guide came, we all went upstairs to the living room where we sat around for about twenty minutes, listening to her tell the history of the Ten Boom family. It was really amazing when we realized that we were at the Beje on May 10th, the 74th anniversary of when the Netherlands were invaded by the Germans. As I sat there listening to the stories (I knew all of them already) I had different scenes from the books playing out in my mind. It was an extremely surreal experience.
|I sat on the windowsill and had this view of the street below
The Beje is a narrow, tall building; it’s only about one or two rooms deep, one or two rooms wide and maybe three stories high. During the Ten Boom’s early years there they had a lot of people living in a small space so they bought the building behind, which was about the same size, and connected the two buildings with a spiral staircase that had a ship’s mast as the main support. This means that the rooms weren’t all on the same level and you would go up a couple of steps to get into one room, and down several to get in the next.
This worked out perfectly when it came time to build a secret room, because the house was so confusing no one would be able to tell if several feet of a room was missing. Corrie’s bedroom was at the very top of the house, and therefore picked to be the place where the hidden room was built. That way, the Jews would have the most time to reach it in case of a raid. Corrie said that when the room was done, she couldn’t even tell it was there.
The Beje was very crowded when we were there, I was amazed at how many people came to see it. When I saw Corrie’s bedroom (which we were allowed to take pictures in), my first thought was about how very small the hiding place was. They had knocked out a portion of the wall so visitors could see the hiding place more clearly. I waited to go in until basically everyone else was done. It was so small! It was probably only about two feet wide and maybe six or seven feet long. There were six (I think) people who were at the Beje when it was raided who escaped to the hiding place. They were there for several days. I cannot imagine.
While standing in Corrie’s room, I read the part in The Hiding Place where Corrie wakes up from being sick and sees people rushing into her room. That made it so much more real to me:
So, we know that Corrie and her family were taken to concentration camps and many of them died, but what about the people in the hidden room? That’s one of the really neat parts about the story! Several weeks after Corrie had been taken to prison, before she was taken to the concentration camp, she received a package from her sister, Nollie, who was married and hadn’t been around during the raid. Corrie noticed the handwriting on the address was slanted toward the upper right hand corner, so she carefully peeled off the stamp and read All the watches in your closet are safe. That meant that all the people hiding in the secret room were ok! Corrie was overjoyed, but didn’t find out what happened until later.
As it turns out, the hidden room had been constructed so well that even though the Germans tore the house apart, they couldn’t find it. They were sure that the Ten Booms were hiding people though, so they decided to wait around until the people either came out or starved to death.
Meanwhile, one of the ‘divers’ (underground men who would be deported to work camps if caught) who wasn’t living at the Beje, but had been there day of the raid had a dad who knew that the Beje had been raided and that his son was there, but that he hadn’t been caught. Therefore the dad realized there must be a secret room and that the Jews and his son needed to be rescued, but he didn’t have a clue where the secret room was. After church one night, he approached two trust-worthy men and told them what happened. Wonder of all wonders one of those men he talked to just “happened” to be the man who built the secret room! Therefore, he was able to give instructions about how to get to it.
Then they worked it out so some policemen who were double agents, acting as if they were for the Germans but who were really strong Dutch workers, got a guard duty shift. The loyal Germans were still downstairs, but the Dutch policemen were able to sneak the people out of the hiding room and out through the roof and they escaped.
|They went in feet first, most of the time.
Last night, I dreamed about being in the hiding place, and in my dream, there wasn’t the hole knocked in the wall. My overwhelming feeling in my dream was how dark and claustrophobic it was. I had climbed into the space, planning on closing the trap door, but then freaked out and had to climb back out. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in there for several days with five other people.
Over all, going to the Beje was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. It’s one of my dreams I’ve dreamed for the longest. I’m so incredibly thankful I had the chance to do it. The Ten Boom family has inspired me greatly and I’m so thankful for how they gave their lives to show Christ love to the world.
If any of y’all have questions, I’d be delighted to try and answer them.
And don’t forget to enter this
giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Corrie ten Boom’s book In My Father’s House
giveaway for a postcard tour of Europe. Have a great Monday, peoples!