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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Israel Honors Dutch Christians Who Saved Jews

HAARLEM, The Netherlands, April 16 /Christian Newswire/ -- Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands Harry Kney-Tal today presented members of the Netherlands' ten Boom family with a certificate posthumously honoring two of its members for saving nearly 800 Jewish lives during the Holocaust.

At a solemn ceremony here, Israel's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Yad Vashem, bestowed the title of Righteous Among the Nations on Casper ten Boom and his daughter, Elisabeth (Betsy), for their wartime heroism.

As devout Christians, the ten Boom family participated in the resistance against the Nazis and willingly sheltered those seeking refuge, both Jews and non- Jews. By the time the entire ten Boom family was arrested in February 1944, they had managed to save almost 800 Jews.

They were sent first to Scheveningen Prison in Holland, where 84-year-old Casper ten Boom died soon after being captured. Elisabeth and her younger sister, Cornelia (Corrie), were then sent to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany in September 1944, where Betsie died. Corrie survived only because she was released - due to a clerical error - in December 1944.

At the time of the family's arrest, the Gestapo carefully searched the ten Boom's house, but could not find any fugitives. They did not discover that two Jewish men, two Jewish women, and two members of the Dutch underground were safely hidden behind a false wall in Corrie's bedroom. From this "hiding place" (the title of Corrie ten Boom's book about the period) the Resistance freed the fugitives nearly two days later. They were the last of an estimated 800 Jews, and many Dutch underground workers, saved by the ten Booms.

According to witnesses, when Casper ten Boom was asked by his captors if he knew he could die for helping Jews, he replied, "It would be an honor to give my life for God's ancient people."

Dr. Michael D. Evans, founder and chairman of the board of the Corrie ten Boom House Foundation, spoke of the revival of the century-old ten Boom tradition of praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Begun in the Netherlands by the Christian Zionist family in 1844, the weekly prayers for Jerusalem continued until they were brutally halted when the Nazis sent family members to their deaths.

The Jerusalem Prayer Team, headed by Evans, renewed the tradition of the ten Boom family and has spread it throughout the world, where millions of Christian Zionists pray for the peace of Jerusalem each week in some 200 countries.

After the war, Corrie ten Boom began a world-wide ministry which took her to more than 60 countries over the next 33 years. She was the first ten Boom to be honored by Yad Vashem and lived until 1983, when she died at the age of 91. The heritage of the ten Boom family is lovingly preserved at the Corrie ten Boom Museum in Haarlem. Corrie's book, The Hiding Place (1971), was made into a film by World Wide Pictures in 1975.


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