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You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Revelation 2:3

The Ten Boom family were dedicated Christians who used their home in Haarlem, Holland, to help anyone in need. During the Second World War it became a refuge for those hunted by the Nazis, notably Jews and members of the Dutch underground resistance movement. Casper Ten Boom and his daughters Betsie and Corrie risked their lives sheltering and caring for these fugitives; it is estimated that they helped to save 800 Jews.

In February 1944 the family was betrayed and the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, raided their home; Casper, Betsie and Corrie were all arrested. The Gestapo were unable to find the four Jews and two members of the Dutch underground movement who were safely hidden behind a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom. Nevertheless, the father and daughters were imprisoned. When Casper had been asked if he knew that he could die for helping the Jews, he replied, “It would be an honour to give my life for God’s ancient people.” That he did, dying after just 10 days in Scheveningen Prison at the age of 84.

In September 1944, Betsie and Corrie were transferred to the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp near Berlin, Germany. They spent their time there sharing Jesus’ love with their fellow prisoners, and many women became Christians because of their witness. On 16 December, Betsie died in Ravensbruck, aged 59.

Corrie survived and was released shortly afterwards. She realised her life was a gift and embarked on a world-wide preaching ministry; her book, The Hiding Place, which tells the family’s remarkable story, became a best-seller. She preached forgiveness and reconciliation, saying, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and, “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.”

Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Charles Wesley (1707-88)

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo is the International Director of Barnabas Fund and the Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life.