History was one of my least favorite subjects growing up. I dreaded learning about one war or another that had occurred well before I was born, and the last thing I wanted to do was read about things that had happened hundreds of years ago.
But as time changes, so do I and my dread of learning about history is, well... history. The best part about living in Europe is that I don't have to try to visualize locations, I can see them first hand. From the Roman ruins to the aftermath of WWII, Europe is a living history book. Although Holland doesn't have 2000 year old buildings, they have a history rich in heroics during Hitler's rein.
Corrie Ten Boom happened to take part in this rich history. She and her family helped save the lives of over 800 Jews and many underground workers. During 1943 and into 1944, there were usually 6-7 people illegally living in their home, Jews and Dutch underground. Additional refugees would stay with the Ten Booms for a few hours or a few days until another "safe house" could be located for them. Corrie actually became a ringleader within the network of the Haarlem (city) underground.
On February 28, 1944, the Ten Booms were betrayed. Four Jews and two members of the Dutch underground were in the house, and hid in behind a false wall in Corrie's bedroom - the cramped hiding place - for 3 days. The Gestapo never found them.
It's such a moving experience to go inside the Ten Boom home and sense the love and sacrifice they had for their fellow men - regardless of the risks they knew they faced. Their house is just one example of many around here, and I feel so lucky to learn of their history in the exact location where it occurred.