Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Corrie Ten Boom House/The BéJé

I am embarrassed to say that I've lived in Haarlem for more than a year and today was the first time I visited the Corrie Ten Boom Museum. Several months ago I purchased the movie DVD "The Hiding Place" which tells the story about Corrie Ten Boom.

When you approach the museum, this is what you see from the corner of Barteljorisstraat and Schoutensteeg.

The entrance to the museum is on Schoutensteeg:

***From the brochure:
In 1837, Willem ten Boom founded a clock and watch shop. Later it passed to his son Casper. The house, called the BéJé (short for Bartelijorisstraat), has become a symbol, which surpasses its national boundaries. In keeping with its history, there is still a clock shop today in the Ten Boom house.

The Ten Boom Family dedicated their lives in Christian service to their fellow men. their home was an 'open house' for anyone in need of help. They were most active in diong social work int he town of Haarlem, and their faith inspired them to serve both the church and society at large.

During the Second World War, the BéJé became a refuge, a Hiding Place for fugitives and hunted people who were sought by the enemy. By protecting these people, father Casper and his daughters risked their lives. Their non-violent resistance against the Nazi oppressor was an act of faith. This faith led them to hide Jews, students who refused to cooperate with the enemy, and members of the Dutch 'underground' resistance movement. The BéJé accommodated these refugees until it was 'safe' to smuggle them to other families. In this way, the BéJé became a center of underground activities with a network of contacts. Through these activities the Ten Boom Family with their friends saved hundreds of lives.

On February 28, 1944, the family was betrayed and the Gestapo, the nazi secret police, raided the house. Six members of the family were arrested. During the next hours about 30 friends, who came to the BéJé unaware of the betrayal, were also arrested and taken to prison. The Gestapo did not, however, discover four Jews and two members of the Resistance. They managed to reach safety by hiding behind the false wall in Corrie's bedroom. The Gestapo stayed in the house a number of days because they were convinced that there were Jews hiding in the house. Since they could not locate them, they hoped to starve them until they surrendered. Fortunately, the Resistance liberated the six refugees after they had been in the narrow hiding place for two and a half days, without food and water. Casper (84), Betsie (59) and Christiaan (24) died as prisoners, whilst Willem (60) died shortly after the war.

Corrie survived Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. When the war was over, she traveled around the world with a calling. In thirty two years she visited sixty four countries to testify to God's love. Corrie encouraged all those she met with the message that Jesus Christ is Victor over all and everything, even the misery of the concentration camp.

The Ten Boom museum is more than just a memorial, it reflects the spiritual strength and the active life in faith, by means of exhibiting documents, photographs and other momentos. The house has been partly restored in the setting of that period, and carries a message for today.

As we entered the house, we went up two flights of stairs to a beautiful parlor, which later became known as "The Liberation Room".  Here we sat comfortably while our knowledgable and enthusiastic docent, Anna, told us the Ten Boom family story.

In this room, the Ten Boom family and their 'guests' would put on plays, play the piano, and sing to take their minds off the horrible things going on outside around them.

Anna showed us many pictures of the family members, explained who they were and what their roles were in the family history.

Then we proceeded upstairs to Corrie's bedroom where we could see the 'hiding place'. It's a space about 7 feet by 2 feet. Can you imagine six people being in there for 2 1/2 days with no food or water?!?! It must have been uncomfortable and frightening!

 Were angels guarding the wall?!?!?

Just outside the door of Corrie's bedroom was the spot where they kept the food ration cards hidden....that was, unfortunately, discovered by the Nazi's...

Anyone visiting Haarlem should take the time to visit the Corrie Ten Boom House. Admittance is free. They do take donations. The tour ends in the dining room where many a meal was shared. Anna read a poem that was a favorite of Corrie's, which coincided with her embroidery:

The Weaver
My life is but a weaving
between my God and me,
I do not choose the colours,
He works so steadily.
Oft time He weaves in sorrow,
and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttle cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas,
and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
in the Weavers skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

Corrie said, "We see now the wrong side; God sees His side all the time. One day we shall see the embroidery from His side, and thank Him for every answered and unanswered prayer."

There, in the dining room, you may purchase books, DVD's, etc.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yard work this weekend!

Last night we went to Almere to have dinner with Wouter and Isabel. What a sweet sweet couple. Isabel is a fantastic cook and we really enjoyed our evening with them!

Today we decided to get rid of the ivy on the roof of the shed. It was turning brown because we haven't had a good rain for a few weeks....and it was so overgrown. Andrew got on the roof and pushed it off with his feet!  Then we started cutting it up and putting the cuttings in plastic garbage bags. Lots of's going to take months to get rid of it all in the weekly garbage pick-ups. We'll add one or two bags to our pile every week till they're gone.

This was the yard last summer.......a little after we had started cutting the bamboo back. Ivy was covering the entire roof of the shed, and was crawling up the neighbor's house. 


 There was so much dirt under the ivy, the birds were picking through it and finding all kinds of bugs!

 All of the ivy is off the's lying on top of the bamboo, so we're now in the process of cutting it up and getting it out!