Life at her home was full of rich family times and a foundation of strong faith. The family was well known for their expertise at making and repairing the finest watches found anywhere and this daughter wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a watchmaker as well, a groundbreaking goal for a woman. Little by little she watched and followed each step as an apprentice determined to learn the skills of her father known everywhere in their city. Her attention to detail and determination were accomplishing the means to that end as her family celebrated the one-hundred-year anniversary of their Haarleem watch shop in the Netherlands. This quiet family known to all would see everything about their life begin to change in 1940 when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands. But that very event would begin to unveil a far greater destiny for this family than their celebrated watchmaking. This daughter, Corrie ten Boom, would follow her faith that would be tested under the direst conditions and become known throughout the world for it rather than as a skilled watchmaker.
Many of you (like me) have known the name, Corrie ten Boom, for some time. Some of you have read The Hiding Place that tells the story of her family and their courageous decision born out of their faith to help Jewish people hide from the fate that awaited them at the hands of the Nazis. A few of you may have read some of the other books about her or read some of those she wrote or even saw the movie, The Hiding Place. But The Watchmaker’s Daughter by New York Times bestselling author, Larry Loftis takes you deeper into the story of Corrie and her family that results in a richer tapestry and understanding than you may know.
Details about how Corrie’s father inspired the family to take this step and how Corrie helped determine ways and places to hide those being hunted by the Nazis will lead to discovery of new characters involved in this dangerous decision and the betrayals of some of those they trusted along the way. You’ll get to know more about the ways each family member played a different role and how those needing refuge came to the shop for help beyond watch repairs.
What was at first a few Jewish people coming to their door and not a lot of notice by the Gestapo, became a flood of people and with them the challenge to find hiding places and practice drills for the day the Gestapo would come. Finding a way to get food to feed them when the Dutch people were already limited to ration cards was another area of research Corrie needed to pursue along with managing laundry and personal hygiene.
The tireless efforts of the ten Boom family could not escape notice indefinitely and in 1944 the Gestapo arrived and arrested the family members in the home. Miraculously, those in hiding in the house were not discovered in the raid or search.
Their arrest subjected them to rigorous interrogation filled with questions meant to trick and ensnare them into telling who and how many Jews were hidden. They faced the terrors of beatings and execution for failing to answer the questions when taken to the interrogation room. Their faith together as a family had helped them stand strong but now they would be separated and taken to different prisons and work camps.
Corrie and her sister, Betsie, were sent to the infamous Ravensbruck camp. Much of this part of the story is shared in The Hiding Place, but The Watchmaker’s Daughter expands that story and the various trials they face and those they recognize as needing their faith (both prisoners and those punishing them or standing guard over them). You’ll discover the details of Betsie’s vision for what they are to do after the war that Corrie goes on to fulfill alone after Betsie’s death in Ravensbruck and Corrie’s unexpected release from Ravensbruck due to an error in record keeping by the Nazis in charge.
This inspiring story of Corrie ten Boom who endures the loss of her family members and so many she loved is a well written biography that should not be missed. Her ministry before, during, and following her imprisonment serve as a shining example of unwavering faith. Her journey to incredible levels of forgiveness and love instead of bitterness and hatred is a remarkable one.
If you do not know her story or have not discovered this newly released true story of Corrie ten Boom, World War II heroine, add this to your list of books to read. You’ll discover an inspiring work and how powerful resistance against evil can be.