12.08.2009

The Hiding Place

I've just finished this (The Hiding Place by Sherrill, Sherrill, and ten Bloom) wonderful book and now have a deep love and respect for Corrie ten Bloom and her sister Betsie. Should you not know the story, Corrie ten Bloom organized a resistance movement in Haarlem, Netherlands that hid Jews. In 1944 she and many members of her family were arrested and eventually she and her sister Betsie were sent to a concentration camp in Germany. What is, perhaps, most remarkable is that not only did she never lose her faith in God, but she and her sister continually saw God's hand over all that was happening, gave thanks in all things, and loved and forgave their captors--and this love was not given years later but in the actually moments that they were being mistreated. They are my heroes. What a would we might live in if we could all truly see that we are ALL children of a Heavenly Father who loves each and every one of us--and that we must also love and forgive each other.

I'm not at all sure how it is possible that I have not read this book given that a) I love books about the WWII era, b) I have a librarian as a Mother who has read this book, and c) I have actually been to the ten Bloom home.

Now, having finally gotten around to reading this fabulous book, I am dying to go back. It was only about 4 years ago that I was there so I still remember it quite well, but still I think I would now have a greater appreciation for the home and what took place there. For example, when you arrive for a tour you simply walk past the front door (still located in the alley) and read the clock sign that indicates when the next tour will be (tours are free). Once you know the time of the tour you can wonder around the area (maybe stop in the nearby St Bavo Church where Mozart and Handel both played the organ and hear the organ being played like we did) or visit the ten Bloom watch shop that is still in operation (although no longer owned by the ten Bloom family) as a real watch shop not a tourist attraction--so you should also only visit it if you intend to buy something. When the time of the tour approaches you return to the door and simply wait outside until someone opens the door and invites you in (there wasn't even a line). Had I had any wits about me I might have spent a moment wondering what it must have been like to be Jewish in 1943 and standing outside that door waiting for someone to invite me in while not being at all sure what my future would hold.

Oh, it just kills me that I didn't know/think about this and all the other things that now I know. It has made me long to return to the Netherlands.

Here is a picture of the little sliding door at the bottom of the closet that accessed the hidden room.

Here is a picture of my sweet mom standing in front of the hidden room. Part of the wall has been taken down to allow easier access and viewing of what the room was like. A few people from each tour are even allowed to stand in the room (room a loosely defined term as I think it was only 30 inches wide). I was lucky enough to be able to do that but somehow we don't have a picture of it.


Here is that church you can visit. It is just around the corner from the ten Bloom house--the organ is amazing.

The is not related to the ten Bloom's but I cannot think of the Netherlands without thinking about their pancakes (crepes). And yes I did order pancakes at nearly every meal I ate in that country--chocolate, bananas, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. The whipped cream was especially wonderful--richest most wonderful thing I have ever eaten. This particular pancake can be had just up the street from the Anne Frank museum.

And the bikes of Amsterdam were a continual amazement to me. Here is one of their parking garages.

3 comments:

Jenny said...

Corrie and Betsie ten Boom are on the list of people I want to meet in the afterlife. Their story is staggering and tender. Anyone who can find a reason to be grateful for lice ranks right up there with me.

Jillian said...

Very cool. Someday I'd like to go there too. And I'm pretty sure I would lose my bike in that parking garage!

Jen said...

While I haven't read the book yet, I've heard a lot of talks about it. Be thankful for the fleas. I think it's high time I picked it up!