FORT WORTH, Texas, May 12, 2015 — Free at last. No more fleas to be thankful for; no more beatings from the brutal Aufseherin (female) guards.
A mere number no longer, Corrie recalled, “When they called out ‘Prisoner 66730,’ ten Boom Cornelia,’ I did a double-take. I hadn’t been called by my name in so long.”
At the administration building, Prisoner 66730 received entlassen, release. Once more she was Cornelia ten Boom, human being. But because of edema in her legs, she didn’t get to leave yet. The Nazis liked former prisoners to appear “well” when they left. So she stayed until the swelling was gone.
Read Part I: The Hiding Place: Saving Holland’s Jews during WWII
Prison officials didn’t tell her why they were letting her go. But she did realize that Betsie’s prophecy came true. Both were free by the New Year, but Betsie by her death.
In her home country once more, Corrie found and stumbled into a hospital where she received genuine care for the first time in a year. Upon discharge, the former refugee joined an illegal food convoy that took her to her brother Willem and home.
There she learned all that had happened while she was gone. Nephew Kik, member of the Dutch Resistance, went to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. No one had heard from him or received any news of him since. Willem had spinal tuberculosis, a keepsake from his time in Schvengenin prison. He would not live much longer.
Settled now, the ministry she and Betsie had started to help mentally disabled people began once again. She even tried to go back to watch- making. Soon, however, Corrie became restless. Betsie’s words rang loud in her heart.
“There has to be a plan, Corrie. We must go everywhere and tell everyone. They will believe us because we were here. There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”
So that’s what she did. Corrie began to speak in public about their experiences and God’s love and forgiveness. The blog h2g2.com tells what happened next:
Read Part II: Ravensbruck concentration camp and fleas of hope
“At every meeting, Corrie spoke of Betsie’s dream of a home for those injured by the war. After one such meeting a Mrs. deHaan approached her and told Corrie of her five sons working for the Resistance. One of the sons had been caught, and Mrs. deHaan said that while Corrie had been speaking, she had felt that her son would come back, and that, in gratitude, she would open her home for Betsie’s vision. A fortnight later, Corrie received a note from Mrs. deHaan, saying her son had returned. On visiting the house, Corrie discovered that it was identical to the one which Betsie had envisioned in Ravensbruck.”
In June of 1945, the deHaan mansion and the ten Boom home opened up to those souls ravaged by the war. Some of them were prisoners, and others had collaborated with the Nazis. The collaborators could no longer find a place to live or get jobs because of their activities during the war.
Corrie spoke to people all over the world in an effort to raise money for the homes and give testimony of what she, Betsie and the other prisoners experienced at the hands of the Nazis.
Read Part III: Corrie ten Boom: The price of helping Jews during WWII
In 1947 Corrie’s first book, “A Prisoner and Yet” about her wartime experiences was published, the first of many books about God’s work in her own life, in the world and of faith. She would write many more in the coming years. The reality of her testimony made a vivid impact on all who listened to her.
Soon Corrie was a well-known speaker and evangelist in Western Europe. In Germany, she provided assistance to refugees. In 1949, she rented a former concentration camp at Darmstadt, Germany, for displaced persons and ex-prisoners to heal from the traumas suffered during the war.
Be sure to read the rest of Corrie’s story in part five of this series.
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