The Hiding Place Part #2

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 or this giveaway for a postcard tour of Europe. Have a great Monday, peoples! 

The Hiding Place Part #1 // Giveaway

I was planning on writing about my Europe trip in order of how it happened, but since so many people have expressed interest in The Hiding Place, also known as The Ten Boom House and The Beje, I decided I would start with that. 

Ever since I found out we were going to go to Europe, I began asking if we could go to Holland and see the Beje. Seeing the Beje has been a dream of mine since I was about nine years old and read In My Father’s House for the first time. That was my first Corrie ten Boom book, and I was decidedly enthusiastic about all of her books from that point on. I went on to read Father ten Boom, The Hiding Place, My Years with Corrie, Corrie ten Boom: Her Life, Her Faith and others, many of them multiple times. 
Corrie ten Boom’s books inspired me and changed my life. They were also one of the factors that got me interested in writing. I saw how my life had been changed through a book, and I wanted to be able to write books that would do the same thing for other people. 

For those of you who don’t know who the Ten Boom family is, I’ll give you a quick overview:
The Ten Boom family lived in Holland in the town of Harlem, in a narrow house over a watch shop that had been in their family for several generations. During WW2, Corrie ten Boom, who was in her 50’s at the time and a watchmaker herself, became very involved in the underground work. At this time she lived in the Beje (their nickname for the house, pronounced bay-yea) with her father, and older sister, Betsie (I actually have a sister who was named after Betsie ten Boom). Their house was a kinda in-between house where Jews would stop on their way to some safer place. Eventually though, they had a group of Jews that stayed with them because they didn’t have anywhere else to go.

One day the Ten Booms were betrayed by a fellow Dutchman and the Beje was raided. the family was taken to prison and eventually to concentration camps. Thankfully, they had built a hiding place and the Jews and some underground workers were able to hide there (more about this tomorrow). 

Corrie’s sister and father both died in the camps, along with one of her nephews (although not from the same raid) and Corrie’s only brother died soon after the war because of the horrible treatment he got in a concentration camp. 

After the war, Corrie traveled all over the world, sharing about God’s love and forgiveness. She even went as far as to turn the Beje into a home where Dutchmen who had betrayed their fellow countrymen and turned them in to the Nazis could come and stay. She also found out who it was who had betrayed them and wrote to him when he was sitting in prison, about to be killed for his war crimes. She told him what he had done to her family and how she forgave him and then she told him about Jesus’s love. 

We left our cars quite a ways from the Beje, and were walking all over Harlem, trying to find the house. I hadn’t realized we were so close to the Beje, until someone said “There it is!” And I realized I was standing just across the street from this history and loved filled building. I had been recalling and telling stories to my younger brother about the Ten Boom family during our car ride to Harlem, and it felt so amazing to be standing on the very street corner where these accounts had taken place. The watch shop is a jewelry shop now and they had watches displayed in the windows, which made it feel almost as if time hadn’t really passed. It was a marvlous experience.

I’m so very thankful for the people who run the Corrie ten Boom Museum. You don’t have to pay to go into the house (although if you wanted a guided tour it does cost a little) and it’s not affiliated with the government at all. They said they have it this way so that they can keep Corrie’s message true and strong and share the gospel and God’s love with everyone who goes there. 

 When we first went in, we were in the dinning room, and my first impression was “Wow, this is so small!” How they able to fit so many people in there, I have no clue. I remember how Corrie often mentioned how crowded the table would be when everyone was gathered around, but I hadn’t realized just how crowded it really was. There were so many of us in the room I didn’t get many good pictures, and then after we left the room, they said we weren’t supposed to take pictures, so sadly I don’t have many.

I was standing there, looking at the table, then I looked out the window and I saw how we were about nine feet up from the street, and that’s when I was suddenly like “OH MY GOODNESS!” Because I could very clearly see in my mind the scene where they were sitting around their table with all their Jews and suddenly they saw someone’s head right outside their window and they kinda freaked out since generally people couldn’t see in the window and hence it being safe for them to have the Jews eat with them. Right away they had begun singing happy birthday and acting like they were having a party so the person wouldn’t think anything unusual about so many people being there, then they realized that why he was so tall is because he was on a ladder, cleaning the windows. It turns out he had gotten the address confused and was cleaning the wrong windows, but they were still scared for a while that he was really spying on them.
I can’t describe how it felt to remember that part of the book while standing in the very room it took place in. I wished I could have just spent all day, or all week, walking around the house, reading the books and imaging them taking place there.

And then I saw the Alpina sign, which they put in their windows, advertising a certain brand of watches they sold, but it was also a signal. When it was up, it was safe for the underground workers, if it was down, it wasn’t safe. During the raid Betsie had knocked the sign off the windowsill, but a guard noticed and realized that it must have been a sign, so he fit it back together (it had broken into three pieces) and put it back up. That was really bad, because some of the underground workers knew that the Ten Boom family had been found out and came to warn them and since the sign was still there, they didn’t know that the Nazis were in the house, so they kept getting caught. I think the Nazis got around 27 people in all, although not everyone was part of the underground. 

This blue sign says “Jesus is victor” and is a phrase Corrie ten Boom used quite often and she even wrote a book with that title. It helped remind her that even though evil was so prevalent and seemed to be winning at times, Jesus was still the victor and in the end, everyone would be able to see that. 

I’ve read where Corrie refers to this crown so often, yet I never realized how beautiful it is. This picture doesn’t do it justice at all, because the lighting was bad. Corrie used to carry this crown around with her, it’s cross-stiched and the back looks like a big mess and not beautiful at all. The idea comes from a poem by Grant Colfax Tuilar: 
My life is but a weaving 
between my God and me, 
I do not chose the colours, 
He works so steadily, 
Oft times He weaves in sorrow, 
and I in foolish pride, 
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent, 
and the shuttle cease to fly, 
Will God unroll the canvas, 
and explain the reason why. 
The dark threads are as needful
in the Weavers skillful hand, 
As the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned. 

I was able to buy some bookmarks there that had a picture of each side of the crown, as well as the poem. Plus, I was able to buy a few of Corrie’s books, which was extra, extra special! I never imagined I would be able to go to her house and actually buy her books. 

Now, I hadn’t planned this at all, but when I saw how interested a lot of y’all are with the Ten Boom family, I decided I could share since I’ve been so blessed as to actually be able to go to the Beje. Therefore, I decided to host another (totally unplanned!) giveaway, where one of you can win a copy of Corrie’s book In My Father’s House, that I bought in the Beje. I hope y’all are as excited about this giveaway as I am! Plus, I’m also giving the aforementioned bookmark to five more of you wonderful people. With this giveaway, the first winner will get the book, and the next five will get the bookmark. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Check back tomorrow for the next part of my trip to the Beje! And don’t forget to get more entries for our European postcard-tour giveaway! As always, when you share about the giveaways it really helps me! Thanks so much for passing the word along, y’all are great!

*Sorry, but the prizes can only be sent to addresses in the US.