Saturday, August 17, 2019

Family ten Boom

(The ten Boom family in 1895. Top row: Cor (mother), Casper (father), family friend. Middle row: Aunt Jans, Aunt Bep, Aunt Anna. Bottom row: Willem, Corrie, Nollie, and Betsie. Betsie was the eldest child, Willem second, Nollie third, and Corrie the youngest.)

1. It seems to me the ten Boom family had many faithful Christians (Dutch Reformed) across several generations. At least as far back as the early 1800s. Apparently they were always poor watchmakers but everyone in their community knew and respected them.

Their home was always open. They held Bible studies and prayer meetings in their home. They always welcomed guests. They always contributed to their community (e.g. lending what money they had). Not only to help Jews, but also others like missionaries and their kids (e.g. missionaries from the Dutch East Indies aka modern Indonesia).

In this respect Corrie ten Boom wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary in helping Jews since her family had always been doing the same for generations. In fact, though Corrie was most famous (because she lived to tell the tale), her other immediate family members seemed to have done more than Corrie did during the war. Today Corrie, her sister Betsie, and her father Casper are honored as "the righteous among the nations" by Israel. Yad Vashem is Israel's official Shoah (Holocaust) museum to honor the deceased; Yad Vashem honors the ten Boom family too.

2. However, from what I can tell, World War II effectively wiped out most if not all the ten Boom family (e.g. Corrie's father Casper died 10 days into his imprisonment in Scheveningen prison, Corrie's eldest sister Betsie died in Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1944). The few that survived the war died soon after (e.g. Corrie's brother Wilhem who was a pastor died in 1946 from an infectious disease he contracted in a concentration camp), never married or had kids (e.g. Corrie ten Boom), or their kids were never heard from again (e.g. Corrie's nephew was never seen again and most likely died in a concentration camp).

3. Sometimes Christians can be utterly faithful and committed to God, but it doesn't necessarily end well for them. Their branch is cut off from the tree. Indeed their family ends precisely because they were faithful.

4. That stands in stark contrast to professing Christians today who have a mindset that God is always going to bless them in terms of material success. As if a relationship with God is a quid pro quo relationship.

5. It likewise stands in stark contrast to those who prosper because of their wickedness. Consider Psalm 73.

6. I suppose that's one reason why biblical wisdom literature includes both the book of Proverbs as well as the book of Ecclesiastes. To (over?)simplify, Proverbs is about the general moral norms of life, while Ecclesiastes is about the hard cases in life. It's one thing to walk on a clear and bright day, but it's another to walk when the sunlight has dimmed, when the shadows creep in, when the darkness envelops.


  1. The ten Boom family fulfilled, as a group, the following passages which are helpful to comfort those left behind in the wake of a faithful Christian's passing:

    The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away,
    while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness. - Isaiah 57:1-2

    For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers - Acts 13:36

    1. Thanks, Scott! That's good. :)

    2. Welcome Hawk. There's been many a passing of church members in the last few years.

      I also vaguely recall a passage about God cutting people off before they fall into sin and damnation, but I haven't pinpointed it yet - and don't recommend sharing it at the eulogy!