“The Hiding Place” Catholic Review: Corrie Ten Boom’s Story Highlights The Power Of Scripture

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A staple of junior high English curriculum is the reading of literature surrounding the Holocaust, or as we should refer to it as, the Shoah. During these formative years, Elie Wiesel’s Night and The Diary of Anne Frank are often fundamental texts used in school. The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Book Thief, and The Boy in Striped Pajamas have been books I’ve read since that semester more than two decades ago.  Another book that I may have read, though I don’t have any recollection of doing so, is Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.  Though I’m uncertain if I read the text, it is not unfamiliar to me, because I’ve seen mass market copies over the years on library shelves.  How could you forget the image of the older woman who graced the middle lower section of the cover? 

A unique film, The Hiding Place, about Corrie Ten Boom, is coming to theaters for two days only, August 3 and 5.  It’s unique because it is a filmed stage production. That means there were two directors of the show, one for the stage production and the other for the cinematic production. While it is sometimes noticeable, you often forget you are watching a stage production and get caught up in the story and narrative. Corrie Ten Boom and her family’s life will fascinate both those familiar and unfamiliar with her story. 

The Hiding Place

The Ten Booms owned a watch shop in the Netherlands. Casper, Corrie’s father, and Betsie, her sister, are the main characters in the story, with the antagonist being Otto, a gentleman who comes to work for Casper in the watch shop.  He holds different ideals than the Ten Boom family and becomes involved in the Nazi regime. 

The Ten Booms are a religious family. They are not Jewish. They are Dutch Reformed Christians. They pray before they eat and read from the scriptures. Otto was disgusted with their Christian practices and resisted them. Corrie’s brother, Willem, who makes an appearance in the film was a Dutch Reformed Minister and became the reason for the Ten Booms’ arrest and assignment to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Willem asked the Ten Boom family to hide Jews in their house and shop. Suspected by the Nazis for doing this, they arrested Corrie and her sister and sentenced them to forced labor. 

The Power Of Scripture

As I watched the film, I continued to be impressed by one recurring theme: the power of scripture.  The family read from the scriptures religiously and together. The Bible was referred to as a “lantern in the darkness”, and it was a prized possession the Ten Booms smuggled into the concentration camp. The movie depicted regular readings in the camp dormitory and the interest of those around them to hear the scriptures proclaimed.  A striking scene from the film was the reading of Psalm 32, where the very name of Ten Boom’s memoir and the stage play/film came from—You are my hiding place O Lord. One could sense how the scriptures penetrated the very livelihood of Corrie and Betsie, as they were able to give thanks for fleas in their beds and the need to love and forgive Otto for his hatred.  The scripture of loving one another and forgiving your enemies underlies the story of The Hiding Place

Corrie Ten Boom’s memoir The Hiding Place and theatrical/cinematic production recounts her and her family’s suffering during the Nazi occupation. It’s a story of her redemption and release, her struggle to live the scriptures’ call to forgiveness, and the power to witness to God, the Prince of Clerical Errors, the Father of Fleas, and the Man of all Sorrows. Her story has been read by many and now her story will be told for the next generation with the release of The Hiding Place in theaters August 3 and 5 and (hopefully) in the future on a streaming platform.  To learn more about the film and what select theaters it is showing in near you, visit: https://thehidingplacefilm.com/

Can a Catholic Watch The Hiding Place?

There is one scene where Protestant “holy communion” is sent to the concentration camp. The prisoners lead the service. One should not confuse this with the Catholic doctrine of Holy Communion

Fr. Looney’s Rating

7.5/10

It isn’t an action-packed film with a huge budget you are used to seeing on the big screen, but it is a historical story worth telling, knowing, and seeing. 

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