Remembering Ten Boom, a patriarch and Christian Zionist

Casper ten Boom’s determination to assist God’s chosen people was the result of his great-great grandfather, began holding weekly meetings to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

By
January 26, 2019 22:44
3 minute read.
Remembering Ten Boom, a patriarch and Christian Zionist

Artwork by Holocaust survivor Yehuda Bacon depicting a scene from a concentration camp. (photo credit: NAOMI GRANT)

The words quoted above were those of Casper ten Boom. The frail 84-year-old man had been arrested and dragged from his home to the Netherlands’ Scheveningen Prison where he was forced to sit for hours on a stone floor. Ten Boom, a patriarch and Christian Zionist, met evil face-to-face on that cold February day in 1944 when the Nazis invaded his home in search of hidden Jews. According to the Gestapo, he was guilty and worthy of death for one reason and one reason only: He was suspected of having helped Dutch Jews evade arrest and deportation to Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps.

At the prison, a group of some 30 people waited in agony, wondering if they were destined to be executed before the sun rose on another day. One by one, they were questioned and their fates determined. Some were released, while others were sent back to the airless hallway to continue in fearful suspense. As darkness fell, a group of the frightened and disheartened gathered around Ten Boom as children flock to a beloved grandfather.

Unable to encircle them with his arms, he embraced them with his voice, as he quoted words from the Psalms that had for so long been life and health to him: “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in Thy word... Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe.” (Psalm 119:114, 117) His prayer was a benediction some would never again hear.

Finally, an official shouted, “Casper ten Boom!” The old man struggled to stand on his arthritic legs, riddled with pinpricks from the lack of circulation. He stumbled toward the door and was hustled inside the interrogation room, where he was questioned again. Calmly and assuredly, peacefully and politely, the old grandfather painstakingly answered the questions barked at him.

The interrogator leaned back in his chair, and in one last effort to seize control over the self-disciplined octogenarian, smiled charmingly. Like the offer Satan made to Christ in the desert, the Gestapo leader leaned in and said, “Old man, if you promise us you will not save any more Jews, we will let you sleep in your own bed.”

Smiling the smile of the redeemed, Ten Boom responded, “I would consider it an honor to give my life for God’s chosen people.” On March 10, 1944, Casper ten Boom died at The Hague Municipal Hospital after 10 days’ incarceration in Scheveningen Prison. In 1968, his daughter, Corrie ten Boom, was inducted into Yad Vashem. In 2008, her father and sister Betsie, were also honored as two of the Righteous Among the Nations. It was my great honor to have been invited to participate in the induction ceremony along with Israeli Ambassador to the Netherlands Harry Kney-Tal.

While attending the induction, I met a Jewish lady from Holland. She told me that she had truly become a Jew in the Ten Boom house. It was there that she was taught Hebrew and learned about Jewish traditions. She said she had not truly been religious when she was taken to Casper’s home.

Casper ten Boom’s determination to assist God’s chosen people was the result of his great-great grandfather, a Christian Zionist, who in 1844, began holding weekly meetings to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Casper ten Boom took up the banner and continued those meetings, where the family and others who stopped by, specifically prayed for the Jewish people. The meetings ended 100 years later on February 28, 1944, when Nazi soldiers came to the house to take the family away for aiding local Jews.

It was that prayer meeting that birthed the idea for the Jerusalem Prayer Team. The organization now has over 54 million members who pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for the Jewish people.

The Ten Boom family is honored at the Friends of Zion Museum and Heritage Center in Jerusalem, where their story is told in the Lights Among the Darkness Gallery.

The writer a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 89 published books, the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, and a member of the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.


Related Content

US NAVY F/A-18E Super Hornets conduct a fly-by of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore in 2006
October 23, 2019
Book review: When unremarkable is remarkable

By MARA W. COHEN IOANNIDES

Cookie Settings