A new movie about courageous Dutch Christian Corrie ten Boom and how her family protected Jews from the Nazis in the Netherlands during World War Two, is being released this month. The Hiding Place is the second film version of her best-selling autobiography of the same name. It was adapted from a recent stage play of her story.
“Corrie and her family risked their lives for people they didn’t even know. They hid close to 800 Jews in their Haarlem home. Some of them were there for less than an hour. There was no way that the ten Booms had a personal relationship with these people they were risking their lives for. How many of us could risk our lives for people we barely shook hands with?” asked stage play director and film co-producer Matt Logan.
He told Sight Magazine: “I think that in our world today it’s so easy to say Not my problem, not my people, I’m going to keep myself safe. I’m convicted every single time of their selflessness and the genuine free love they gave to these people. Their protest was love and their home was not their own, it was open to anyone that knocked. And that is amazing.”
Corrie and her humble family of watchmakers risked everything to save hundreds of Jews before she and her sister were eventually arrested and sent to a concentration camp where they preached the Gospel and brought many prisoners to the Lord. Only Corrie survived, after being miraculously freed because of a ‘clerical error’ just before she was due to be taken to a gas chamber.
A. S. “Pete” Peterson who is the writer of the stage play and producer of the film went to the ten Boom’s home and the former Ravensbrück concentration camp to research the script. “Until you’ve been in a concentration camp, you can’t even fathom how big the evil was. That’s a process of research that fundamentally changed my relationship to the story,” he told CBN News.
When Corrie managed to smuggle a Bible into the camp, Betsie read it out loud to anyone who’d listen. When communion wafers are smuggled in, Betsie led the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. She saw blessings everywhere as she clung on to a simple truth: “There is no darkness so deep that He is not deeper still.”
“The one thing that was really clear to me is that it is easy to think The Hiding Place is all about Corrie ten Boom, and it is, obviously. But Betsie ten Boom is the real hero of this story in a lot of ways. And there is a sense in which I came away thinking Corrie’s intent with telling the story in some ways was to honour the beautiful person that her sister was. And so I wanted to be intent that we really told that story as well,” Mr Peterson affirmed.
He agrees that Betsie often gets overlooked in history. “Lots of people know the name Corrie ten Boom, but Betsie ten Boom is not talked about as much. And Betsie is one of the most remarkable people I have ever encountered, Her ability to be grateful in the midst of the worst circumstances is something that I struggle to do, even when I am just having a bad Monday,” he confessed.
After the war Corrie ten Boom was inspired by Betsie’s example of selfless love and forgiveness amid extreme cruelty and persecution to establish a home for camp survivors trying to recover from the horrors they had escaped. She spent much of her life as a public speaker and missionary telling how God was with her and Betsie throughout their ordeal, preaching His forgiveness and the need for reconciliation.
Her devout moral principles faced their biggest test in 1947 when by chance, she came face to face with one of her former guards who had become a Christian and asked her to forgive him and held out his hand. In her book, she wrote how she froze from the cold clutching her heart, but knew she had to forgive this man and prayed that Jesus would lift her own hand because she couldn’t.
She wrote when their hands clasped: The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. “I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!” For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then. (From The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom).
The Hiding Place movie is due for release on August 16.
Photo from The Hiding Place official website: thehidingplacefilm.com