Monday, October 20, 2014

The Legacies of Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank

I am writing this from the Arusha Coffee Club in Arusha, Tanzania, Africa near the base of Mount Kilamanjaro. We will soon be heading back to the United States after spending several days on the African continent. Prior to coming to Tanzania, we spent a couple of days in Amsterdam. One of the things we did while in that historic city is visit the houses of two people who lived in or near Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of World War II.

Near Amsterdam, in a little community called Haarlem, sits the cottage that housed Corrie Ten Boom's family. I've been amazed by Corrie Ten Boom's story for years, and it was an honor to tour the house where she and her family hid Jews from the Nazis who sought to exterminate the Jewish race. The Ten Boom family was Dutch, and the risk they took in turning their house into a "hiding place' was incalculable. Corrie and her family were caught sympathizing with the Jews, and at the age of 52, Corrie was sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Somehow, she miraculously survived from being sent to the gas chambers, but the rest of her family perished in the camps. Corrie Ten Boom would come to America later in life, and one of our friends and fellow church members, Audrey Villialobos worked as her personal secretary.

The lines in front of Corrie Ten Boom's house were non-existent. The tour was gripping. It is a humbling experience to realize you are the age of a woman who risked her own life to save the lives of others during World War II. Other than the Churchill Museum in London, I consider the tour of Corrie Ten Boom's house to be one of the more emotionally moving places I've been to across the Atlantic.

Just a few hours after visiting Corrie Ten Boom's house we were in Amsterdam touring another house. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl in Amsterdam during World War II, and along with other members of her family, she hid in the back of a warehouse from the Nazi's. She was only twelve, but she recorded her thoughts in 'The Diary of Anne Frank.' Anne and her family eventually would be caught by the Nazis and she would die in the concentration camps. Her diary, discovered by her surviving father after the war, would be published in 1947 and become an international sensation.

The line outside Anne Frank's house was literally a mile long. Literally. Thanks to the ingenuity of Carol Williams who had purchased entry passes for us prior to arriving in Amsterdam,  we were able to skirt the lines. The Anne Frank house told a fascinating story of personal hiding from the Nazis. It was much more 'professional' in terms of a museum when compared to Corrie Ten Boom's house. Steven Spielberg took profits from his movie "Schindler's List" and made the Anne Frank house the beneficiary.

But the difference between Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom goes far beyond their respective houses. Corrie Ten Boom was hiding others. Anne Frank was hiding herself. Corrie Ten Boom willingly put her life in danger for others; Anne Frank's life was in danger unwillingly. Corrie Ten Boom is the epitome of selfless sacrifice; Anne Frank epitomizes the ability to write well of one's difficulties in life.

It is not surprising the world flocks to the house of Anne Frank. I find it very surprising that the world doesn't come in similar numbers to the house of Corrie Ten Boom. It seems we put a higher value on self-preservation than we do self-sacrifice. After being at both houses in Amsterdam, I came away from one house sympathizing with the difficulties of a young Jewish girl and from the other house I came away with a renewed desire to live my life for the sake of others.

Were the world to be enthralled by the story of Corrie Ten Boom we'd all be living in a better place. May the lines outside the Ten Boom house increase.


Christiane said...

I can recommend the film 'The Hiding Place' which tells the story of the ten Booms and how they brought Christ's light into the darkness

Christiane said...

Miep Gies was a woman who helped shelter Anne Frank's family from the Nazis. From an interview of Miep Gies by American school children comes this thought-provoking response:

Student Question: "What message should the young people of today pass on about Anne's story?"

Miep's reply:
'The message to take from Anne's story is to stop prejudice and discrimination right at its beginning. Prejudice starts when we speak about THE Jews, THE Arabs, THE Asians, THE Mexicans, THE Blacks, THE Whites. This leads to the feeling that all members of each such group think and act the same. That results in prejudice. Lumping entire groups of people together is RACISM, because it denies the fact that everyone is an individual.' (Miep Gies)

The whole interview is here:

Jon L. Estes said...

For me, several other things need to be drawn, or asked, of these two stories...

1 - Are we not better off with both stories being told from the two different perspectives?
2 - Is there a difference in the actions of the two due to...
A - The different ages?
B - One being Jewish and the other not?
C - One chose to enter the drama, the other was chosen by a ruthless dictator.

It is possible other questions could be posed but these interest me.

I do agree with your post Wade yet I do think you overlook some important details (the reason for my post) which would enhance your thoughts.

I believe the Corrie Ten Boom Collection is on loan or has been given to Dallas Baptist University, or it was there shortly after I graduated.

Unknown said...

Thanks for these inspirational words, Wade! Praying you and Rachelle have a safe journey home.

Wade Burleson said...

Jon, sure - there are big differences. I am not saying we should ignore Anne Franke - just that we ought to not miss or minimize Corrie Ten Boom.

Anonymous said...

Has a movie ever been made about Corrie Ten Boom?

Wade Burleson said...


A long time ago - a Billy Graham Film. It was excellent.

Christiane said...

Anonymous said...


Oh! I see it now on Netflix, "The Hiding Place". It's a 1975 version and I don't believe this one is a Billy Graham film. I think Julie Harris is in it. I'll have to check it out.

I think your observation of the difference in popularity of one of these victims of the Nazi plague over another does present some issues worth considering. Thanks.

Christiane said...

for those interested in the ten Boom family's story, here is an excellent resource:

perhaps the greatest 'monument' to Corrie and her family is not worldly praise or recognition, but that six people's lives were saved in the ten Boom 'Hiding Place' and four of them survived the war AND, in the concentration camp, people became Christians who heard Corrie and her sister Betsie speak of Christ and His love.

What is important? Credit and recognition? In our world, yes. But in the Kingdom of God, there are other measurements of goodness and greatness . . . when righteous people are not acknowledge publicly in this life and still they are on the side of the angels, know that for them, all shall be made well in His Kingdom when on the Day of Lord they shall be acknowledged by Christ Himself.

Corrie's story would not be the same without Anne's story ... in their world they both faced the horror of evil by which both their lives became afflicted. HOWEVER, from Anne's writings, and from Corrie's witness, we now know that in their end, both did NOT become embittered. That is what we know. And that may be among the best lessons we can take away from their suffering.

When we are 'saved by hope', God's Mercy becomes a great light in the darkness.

Rev. Christopher E. Burcham said...

Five years ago, my wife & I had the privilege of visiting both houses in the Netherlands also. In fact, visiting the Ten Boom sites in Haarlem (& elsewhere in Holland) was the entire purpose of our trip overseas.

I concur completely with your assessment of the differences between the two sites. Without taking anything away from Anne Frank and either those who hid with her or those who hid them (I wouldn't have missed that site for anything), I have to agree that the Beje (Ten Boom house & watch shop) remains one of the most deeply moving sites I've ever visited--anywhere in the world! I long for the opportunity to return someday!

Both sites are connected with a deeply moving story and, as such, carry a lot of pathos--but only one is infused with the redemptive power of the Gospel that ultimately burns away all the darkness and points to the unfailing ability of a sovereign God to use all things for His Glory!

A couple of side notes: in addition to the half-dozen Jews who were hidden in the Ten Boom home at the time of the Gestapo raid, the Ten Boom family (whose underground activities were led and organized by Corrie herself) is believed to have been responsible for saving literally HUNDREDS of lives (eclipsed only by the thousands upon thousands of eternal souls whom God used Corrie to touch in later years as she became a "tramp for the Lord" all over the globe!

And finally, the 1975 motion picture "The Hiding Place" (a truly first-rate production) was, in fact, produced by Billy Graham's World Wide Pictures (in my opinion, their very finest work). Another film version of the Ten Boom story, called "Return to the Hiding Place," is currently in limited release in select theaters across America. I've not yet seen it--so can't really comment--but the 1975 version would be awfully difficult to even equal, much less top!

Rhonda (Weston) Gilbert said...

I have always loved the Corrie ten Boom story. I have always loved how she saw the good in things. She thanked God for the lice in their bunks, because it kept the guards from raping them. I own a VHS copy of "The Hiding Place" and a couple of her books. Anyway, I have always admired her and really enjoyed this blog.

Rachel said...

To answer Rev. Christopher E. Burcham, the sequel does a beautiful job expounding on the story while valuing and honoring the original. I recommend anyone passionate about the testimony of faith made by Corrie's life should also try to see the film made about her true-life student resistance army, untrained university students who risked their lives to hide and transport the Jews in Corrie's home. Most importantly, this film is re-educating the new generation on the power of Christ's love in the hearts of His people willing to put faith into action. Their trailer is here on the website:

Unknown said...

I would think that more people knows the Ann Frank Story... I knew about the AF Museum, but I didn't know about the Ten Boom museum, I look foward to visit both of them.

Sherrie said...

Yes, "The Hiding Place" is available on Amazon Prime and Netflix.


Praise GOD! May the Lord richly bless you all! I'm CELEBRATING my 47th YEAR loving JESUS! GLORY! One of the FIRST books our Pastor's wife recommended for us as new Saints was "The Hiding Place!" (Others were "The Cross and the Switchblade" and "The Pilgrim's Progress.") Since then, I've been in awe of Corrie's testimonies! Especially the one where the German officer got saved and wanted to shake her hand! He had been there when her sister died. Corrie said she prayed, and her cold hand had warmed as JESUS shook his hand THROUGH her! GOD would also give her money for missions in her mailbox! ALL things are possible! I'm a witness! The LORD has worked MIRACLES in my life for 47 years! Amen! The miracles started for this former atheist when GOD touched me in the name of JESUS on Christmas Eve in 1972! I woke up Christmas Morning Born Again! HALLELUJAH! The beginning of GREAT THINGS! GOD called me to preach in 1985! He said to me; These are My people. I love My people. Tell My people, I'm soon to come!
Beloved! JESUS is coming again SOON! 🙏🙌