Our local high school sends home a daily email( an email Monday-Friday) which contains the daily announcements from the schools my three teens attend. Last week, the high school’s library listed one book each day that had been banned somewhere in the US to make the students and their families aware of National Banned Books Week. One book that the library failed to mention because it just happened, ironically during National Banned Books Week, was the banning of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.
If you’re not familiar with The Hiding Place, it’s the true story of the ten Boom family who lived in Haarlem, a city in The Netherlands. Corrie’s father, Caspar, ran the family’s watch making and repair business and daughter Corrie was also a watch maker and repairer. Another daughter, Betsie, took care of the house and did the cooking. When the Nazi’s marched into The Netherlands in 1940, the ten Booms, who were Dutch Reformed Christians, were horrified at the news they were hearing about the treatment of Jewish people in their country. The ten Booms decided that they had to help the Jewish people in their country and so created a “hiding place” in their home where Jewish people could hide before trying to leave the country and escape the wrath of the Nazis. The Nazis did eventually find out what the ten Boom’s had been doing and they were arrested and placed in various concentration camps before finally arriving at Ravensbruck, one of several notorious concentration camps in Germany.
Throughout Corrie and her sister’s ordeal in the camps, they showed love to their fellow prisoners, read to them from their bible that they managed to smuggle into the prisons with them and it miraculously was never discovered by their guards, and through her sister’s example, Corrie eventually learned to forgive her captors when the war was over. The book was also made into a movie that starred the late actress Julie Harris as Betsie.
The Superintendent of Springs Charter Schools, in Temecula, CA, Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer, insisted that the school district, “does not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.” That statement got me to wondering. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a minister and in several of his famous speeches he mentioned God. Have his speeches been pulled off of the school’s lending shelves yet? Those speeches that mention God seem pretty sectarian to me. What about the Declaration of Independence or The US Constitution? Those documents mention God, are they still on the shelves at the school’s libraries?
Corrie ten Boom passed away in 1983. Before her death, she was honored by the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, as a member of “The Righteous Among Nations”. At a ceremony to honor Corrie and her family’s efforts in helping the Jewish people in The Netherlands during WWII, she planted a tree in honor of her sister, Betsie, who died at Ravensbruck. If a Jewish organization like Yad Vashem could honor a christian for doing something so kind, helpful, selfless, and honorable for persecuted Jews during WWII, surely a school district in CA could wake up from it’s political correct slumber and put The Hiding Place back on it’s lending shelves.
Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener, who has read The Hiding Place twice gave his opinion on the book being banned, “…in today’s modern culture, selfishness prevails. Youth show no respect for the elderly. The ten Boom’s family’s moral conduct is the antidote to the corrupted people in today’s society.” I hope the Springs Charter Schools in Temecula, CA will restore the banned books, especially The Hiding Place.
Credit for information for this blog: The American Conservative: “Corrie ten Boom Deported Again”, Rod Dreher, Sept. 25th, 2014.
IJReview: “Nazi Death Camp Survivor Responds To California School’s Ban On Popular Holocaust Book”, Justen Charters, Sept. 29th, 2014.