By: Russ Matthews
Corrie Ten Boom may not be a name to recent generations, but her story transcends history.
Her autobiographical tale of her family’s experiences in Holland harbouring Jewish refugees during World War II can be read in her book, The Hiding Place. Despite occurring over 80 years ago, the family of a watchmaker’s story continues to be a beautiful expression of faith, sacrifice, and mercy. The Rabbit Room stage production of the Ten Booms is coming to cinemas briefly, and this gem is worth discovering.
Writer A.S. Peterson and director Matt Logan bring to life the unexpected heroes of the Netherlands who managed to care for hundreds of Jews who were being pursued by the Nazis. Casper Ten Boom (Conrad John Schuck) was a watchmaker who owned a shop in Holland and was assisted by his daughters, Corrie (Nan Arnold Gurley) and the free-spirited Betsie (Carrie Tillis). They lived out their Christian faith through hospitality and generosity within their tight-knit community. As the Germans came to occupy their country, these traits made them critical recruits for the underground network who hoped to save the lives of the persecuted Jewish people.
Through connections and strong faith, the Ten Booms would hide and smuggle many through their home. They are eventually betrayed and find themselves in the horrific conditions of the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. Here they helped many to maintain their faith and courage through worship service. As they worked to survive each day, one thing that allowed them to make it through the tortuous conditions was hearing the words of the Bible. Corrie Ten Boom’s words live on in this amazing theatrical display as her words of faith, love, and forgiveness come to life.
A Timeless Message of Faith
The Australian film premiere of The Hiding Place, coming to cinemas August 16, 2023 for one night only.
In our world where so much is uncertain and confusing, The Hiding Place speaks into these times from the past with a timeless message of faith. This rare opportunity to see this profoundly affecting performance is worth finding while it is in cinemas. Peterson / Logan have managed to draw audiences into Corrie Ten Boom’s memoirs with modern storytelling that honours her tragic and triumphant elements. The staging and adjusted timelines complement every aspect of this autobiographical sketch. They will keep contemporary audiences engaged until the end.
Even though the innovative staging and use of time frame this personal tale nicely, the cast carries this production through. Conrad John Schuck, Carrie Tillis, and Nan Arnold Gurley as Corrie capture the familial and faith-filled heart of the Ten Booms. Gurley in particular conveyed the nuances of the complexities of Corrie as she struggled through her faith during this tumultuous time. The three leads were supported marvellously by all of the players. At the same time, these central characters quietly command the attention of all who are looking on from their seats. Granted, this is a different experience than watching a film made for cinemas; this theatrical production translates superbly to the big screen.
The Hiding Place is worth discovering in cinemas during this brief run as it takes you back to uncover the enduring truths that transcend our world.
Reel Dialogue: Hospitality can Save Lives
The Ten Booms were people of strong Christian faith, but they lived a humble life of watchmaking. The gift they had to offer the world was hospitality. Not something most would put up as a marker for life-changing events. Yet, this wonderful gift led them to express God’s mercy, love, and compassion to a persecuted community.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. – Hebrews 13:2
Throughout history and the Bible, there are stories of those who merely invited strangers or people in need into their homes. They gave from what they had and cared for those with needs. Few of the people in these legendary stories were looking for recognition or accolades, they were merely serving their fellow human beings, and many were showing God’s love by opening their homes.
The Ten Booms’ story is compelling, but even they would admit they did the work of the God they served by loving their neighbours. Would you do the same?
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.