Today is Kindness Matters Monday! And today, I’m doing another book review. I want to share with you the true story of one of the kindest, most inspirational families I have had the privilege to read about.
(I’m going to warn you about this book. IT IS SAD. It’s a true story of the Holocaust. If you’re looking for a sweet, pleasant story, this is not a book for you to read right now. But if you’re looking for a story of exceptional courage, bravery, and compassion, it’s time to read The Hiding Place.)
In the very first chapter of the book, as Corrie ten Boon is describing a family party, come these chilling words:
“It was a day for memories. A day for calling up the past. How could we have guessed as we sat there – two middle-aged spinsters and an old man – that in place of memories we were about to be given adventures such as we had never dreamed of? Adventure and anguish, horror and heaven were just around the corner, and we did not know. Oh Father! Betsie! If I had known would I have gone ahead? Could I have done the things I did?
“But how could I know? How could I imagine this white-haired man, called Opa – Grandfather – by all the children of Haarlem, how could I imagine this man thrown by strangers into a grave without a name?
“And Betsie, with her high lace collar and gift for making beauty all around her, how could I picture this dearest person on earth to me standing naked before a roomful of men? In that room on that day, such thoughts were not even thinkable.”
(Um, Kimber … It’s Kindness Matters Monday. What the heck??)
I know. This book seems like the very farthest thing from a Kindness Matters post.
But it’s not.
And this is why.
“Suddenly the chief interrogator’s eye fell on Father. ‘That old man! he cried. ‘Did he have to be arrested? You, old man!’
“Willem led Father up to the desk. The Gestapo chief leaned forward. ‘I’d like to send you home, old fellow,’ he said. ‘I’ll take your word that you won’t cause any more trouble.’
“I could not see Father’s face, only the erect carriage of his shoulders and the halo of white hair above them. But I heard his answer.
“‘If I go home today,’ he said evenly and clearly, ‘tomorrow I will open my door again to any man in need who knocks.'”
For that answer, he was sent to a concentration camp.
Ten days later, he was dead.
This man – a Christian – was arrested for harboring Jews. And he gave his life before he gave up his humanity.
Could the same be said of me?
This strength – this courage – haunts me, and it inspires me. This was just one ordinary old man. But his quiet fortitude reaches out to me, decades later, and it makes me stronger. His story, his name – they deserve to be remembered.
Casper ten Boom, I remember you.
This man’s story is just one example of the faith and courage you will find in this book. I’d love for you to read it, and to let me know what you think. What character resonates with you? Casper, with his gentle mightiness? Betsie, with her ability to make anywhere – even a concentration camp – a little bit more beautiful? Or Corrie herself, with her extraordinary story of faith, hope, and ultimately, forgiveness?
Come discover The Hiding Place.
This post is not sponsored, but does contain an Amazon affiliate link. Thank you for your support of this website, and thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts on this story, I’d love to hear them.