Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Today, on the Christian History Almanac, we remember the arrest of Corrie Ten Boom and her mission work from concentration camps and beyond.

It is the 28th of February 2024. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac, brought to you by 1517 at; I’m Dan van Voorhis.


It is usually the last day of the month- but not this year. More on that tomorrow, the magical 29th day of February. But, the shows this week have an overarching theme, not planned, but there nonetheless: I am touching pretty big characters that have only been touched tangentially on this show thus far- so Constantine got his due yesterday, a famous Scotsman gets tomorrow, and today we remember Corrie Ten Boom, a dutch evangelist, and member of the resistance whose home and later book, “the Hiding Place” is a favorite in evangelical circles.

Before I recap her story, let me say that “The Hiding Place” is a classic in the genre of devotional non-fiction. Like the work of Brother Andrew or Diet Eman, it tells the story of the faithfulness of God and his work amongst his people in peril. You should read the book if you have not. Also, last year, Larry Loftis published his “The Watchmakers Daughter: The True Story of World War Heroine Corrie Ten Boom.” I listened to the audio version and was delighted at the rich story and larger historical context.

Corrie Ten Boom was born to Caspar and Cornelia Ten Boom in April of 1892. Her family soon inherited the family watch shop and the home above it; they would later add an adjoining residence, something providential for their later work during World War II.

Her mother died, and two of her siblings married and moved out, leaving Corrie, her older sister Betsie, and her father Caspar in the home and shop. In 1922, Corrie became the first licensed watchmaker in the Netherlands, a reasonable feat in and of itself. 

Corrie also ran clubs for girls, which included scripture lessons, and the Ten Booms often opened their homes for the needy. In 1940 with the nazis overrunning the Low Countries, they were asked by a Jewish woman if she could stay in their home as their husband had been arrested. They agreed, and soon, the mother of a young Dutch man who refused to sign the nazi pledge was sending him to the Ten Boom house. This was Hans Poley, another Christian who would not acquiesce to the Nazification of his university and was thus to be sent to a work camp. He, as a member of the Dutch Resistance, would connect the Ten Booms to the work, and soon, they had a “hiding place” hollowed out between the two residences, and it became a safe place for those being shepherded out of the country. They would collect ration cards from a family friend who happened to be in charge of distributing them. They would devise a system in the house such that a small buzzer could be pushed at the front of the store. If the Gestapo came by, those hiding could scurry into the hiding place to avoid arrest.

The family was ratted out after four years; it occurred on February 28, 1944, just under a year before the end of the occupation of the Netherlands. But, because the Gestapo knew Corrie, her sister Betsie, and her father Caspar had been part of the resistance, they would be part of those headed to a quick disposal in the camps.

Caspar, proud that he could give his life in imitation of Christ, died only ten days into his imprisonment. Betsie and Corrie would end up in Ravensbruck, a notorious women’s camp, and Betsie succumbed to disease in December of 44. Corrie was surprisingly released, learning later that it was due to a clerical error that didn’t identify her as a 50+-year-old woman- all of those women were sent to their deaths, and Corrie was a free woman. Living with the weight of this proved an impetus to serve. She made her way back to the Netherlands, where she was able to open a home for those displaced by the war, even the Nazi sympathizers. She would also have the opportunity to forgive a guard from Ravensbruck.

Ten Boom would work with John and Elizabeth Sherill, who wrote Brother Andrew’s book, to publish The Hiding Place in 1971. It was turned into a movie in 1975 and later a stage play, which has subsequently been filmed and released. She would become a sought-after speaker, visiting some 60 countries from the late 40s to the late 70s when she moved to Southern California and died in 1983.

“Tramp for the Lord” is the story of her later travels and missions work. The aforementioned Hans Poley also wrote a book “Return to the Hiding Place” which was also made into a film in the last decade.

Corrie Ten Boom, an icon of evangelical selflessness, ministry, and missionary work, began the toughest years of her life when she was arrested on this day in 1944.


The last word for today is from the daily lectionary from the book of Jeremiah, a little bit of judgment followed by the promise:

12 “This is what the Lord says:

“‘Your wound is incurable,
    your injury beyond healing.

There is no one to plead your cause,
    no remedy for your sore,
    no healing for you.

All your allies have forgotten you;

    they care nothing for you.

I have struck you as an enemy would
    and punished you as would the cruel,

because your guilt is so great
    and your sins so many.

Why do you cry out over your wound,

    your pain that has no cure?

Because of your great guilt and many sins
    I have done these things to you.

“‘But all who devour you will be devoured;

    all your enemies will go into exile.

Those who plunder you will be plundered;

    all who make spoil of you I will despoil.

But I will restore you to health
    and heal your wounds,’
declares the Lord,

because you are called an outcast,

    Zion for whom no one cares.’


This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 28th of February 2024, brought to you by 1517 at

The show is produced by a man who is likely thinking of the Dutch Bros coffee and how it’s likely a tad overrated- he is Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by a man of Dutch descent who reminds you that, sure, we had windmills and wooden shoes, but we also gave the modern doughnut to the world- you’re welcome. I’m Dan van Voorhis.

You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.

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