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largely unfamiliar to most Jews, Corrie ten Boom is a well-known hero
among believing Christians, a model of how Christians should act in dark
times. Her private story of faith and heroism was depicted in the play
"Corrie Remembers", staged last Sunday to a wide audience of Christians
and Jews from all over northern Israel.
The one-woman show
highlights the memories of Corrie ten Boom, one of the "Righteous among
the Nations." Corrie's story remains little-known to Jews. However, the
City of Afula and the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian
Relations at Yezreel Valley College worked to change that by bringing
this drama to Israel.
Cornelia (Corrie) was raised in Holland, in
a family of dedicated Christians who believed that the Jews were a
people chosen by God. With the German invasion of Holland in 1940, the
ten Boom's beliefs about Jews were put to the test. Asserting that God's
people were always welcome in their house in Haarlem, they courageously
made their home above their father's watch repair shop into a place for
Jews and resistance members to hide, before being moved to safe houses
in the country. One of the first Jews to stay there on a long-term basis
was Meyer Mossel, a cantor from an Amsterdam synagogue.
room was built in Corrie's bedroom where the Jews could hide in case
the house was raided. The room was the size of a closet, built with a
false wall and an air vent to the outside. When the house was indeed
raided by the Gestapo in February of 1944, six people escaped detection
by hiding in that tiny room. The ten Boom family and many of their
friends were arrested that day. Most were eventually released, but
Corrie's father remained in prison, where he died. Corrie and her sister
Bessie were sent to Ravensbrück for their efforts, the notorious
concentration camp for women near Berlin. Bessie died there, and Corrie
was ultimately released due to a clerical error at the end of 1944.
the cruelty that she endured, her faith remained resolute. Corrie would
eventually dedicate herself to spreading the message of forgiveness and
reconciliation she believed in. After the war she began a public
speaking campaign all over the world. Corrie Ten Boom was honored by Yad
Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1967 and was
knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in 1968. She passed away on her
birthday in 1983 at the age of 91. Soon after her death, the ten Boom
house in Haarlem was restored and opened as a museum in her honor.
Remembers" is a powerful one-woman dramatization that has been
performed hundreds of times around the globe. Susan Sandager portrays
Corrie Ten Boom in the eighth decade of her life, remembering her
younger years. Jews and Christians of all ages came to the show from
Afula, Jerusalem, Karmiel, Nazareth and neighboring kibbutzim and small
communities, all of whom were encouraged by the simple courage and love
that Corrie ten Boom embodied.
After the show one woman said,
"I thoroughly enjoyed Corrie Remembers... I vaguely knew the story, but
the play brought it alive so well. I cried almost the whole way through.
I left wondering if I had lived then, would I have found the courage to
help Jews rather than 'mind my own business' as I do so often in
today's conflicted times....Susie Sandager's portrayal of an old Dutch
lady was amazing! Her message of support for Israel at the end of the
evening was very powerful. Would that all our co-religionists in the
Diaspora were as passionate in their support of Israel as this Christian
woman."Dr. Faydra Shapiro is the director of the Galilee Center for Studies in Jewish-Christian Relations at Yezreel Valley College and is a contributing expert to Travelujah. . The Center is dedicated research, teaching and to furthering relationships between Jews and Christians. To learn more about the academic programs available please contact Dr. Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.