In profession Corrie ten Boom was a watchmaker, the first female licensed watchmaker in the Netherlands. She had followed in the footsteps of her father, who was so passionate about the work that he would at times forget to charge customers, and his father into the family business, which was started in 1837.
In personality Corrie was pleasant, gentle and kind, a joy to be around. She was known for helping people, housing foster children and working with the developmentally disabled. She was a deeply devout Calvinist Christian who believed in peace and that all people are equal. So when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, took power there, brought laws forcing Jewish people to wear the yellow star, shop only in Jewish shops, forbidding Jews from walking in public parks, as they brought genocide there, she along with her family joined the resistance. They used their business as a cover for their work, used their home to hide Jews and resistance workers, gathered ration cards so that Jewish people could eat. They did whatever was necessary to save lives.
For years the ten Boom family worked within the resistance, but in 1944, an informant shared information about the work they were doing with the Nazis, who raided the home, arresting everyone. At the time, there were six people hiding there. None were discovered, and shortly after the raid, the resistance sent Corrie a letter in prison, and using the words of her profession said, “All the watches in your cabinet are safe.”
Corrie survived prison and then a concentration camp. It is estimated that about 800 Jewish people were saved because of the ten Boom family.
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Note: this portrait of Corrie was taken in 1921.
“A snapshot biography of Corrie ten Boom” sources: