Cords of Faith

A Continuance of – A Father’s Legacy

In my last post, A Father’s Legacy, I shared information pertaining to the ten Boom family.  Specifically focusing on Willem and Casper ten Boom, a father and son whose unwavering christian faith became the tap root in supporting a strong and resolute family tree.

Adolf Hitler in Yugoslavia.

Adolf Hitler

Most of us are familiar with Casper’s daughter, Corrie ten Boom and the legacy that she has left to the world.  I will feature a post on her later, but I thought it fitting to share accounts of other family members who also demonstrated courageous faith under deadly persecution.

Patriotism is VERBOTEN!

Adolf Hitler saw the Dutch as part of the Aryan (master) race and wanted them integrated into High Germany.  In order to achieve this goal the German occupiers were to dissolve the Dutch as a nation. With Hollands government and military dismantled, and Germany’s flag flying high, they   began the process of integration by forbidding the Dutch to show any signs of patriotism.  In essence, Holland had fallen into a shallow grave and Germany was busy shoving  dirt over top of it.

May 10, 1942 – two years into Germany’s occupation of Holland.

Casper’s grandson, Peter ( Nollie ten Boom’s son) was known to be an accomplished musician and played the pipe organ for St. Bavo, the Dutch Reformed Church in Haarlem Netherlands.

On May 10, 1942, while playing for the congregation, Peter grew desperate to lift the spirits of his fellow countrymen who had grown downtrodden and was in despair.  As his fingers graced the organ’s keys he began playing the Dutch National Anthem, The Wilhelmus.

Inside St. Bavo

Oh how glorious the sound  must have been as it began to fill the high cathedral ceilings and grand palatial rooms.   And while playing the unlawful and forbidden song, a solitary voice began to sing.  Soon others joined in until finally the entire congregation sang in one strong voice.  So touched were those that sang that tears streamed down their faces as momentary freedom sprang from their voices through the words of their Nations Anthem.

The Wilhelmus – stanza 1 & 2:   William of Nassau am I of Dutch blood.  Loyal to the fatherland I will remain until I die.  A prince of Orange am I free and fearless.  The king of Spain I have always honored.  My Shield and my reliance are you oh God my Lord.  It is you on whom I want to rely, never leave me again. Grant that I may remain brave your servant for always, and defeat the tyranny which pierces my heart.

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Organ pipes in St. Bavo

For exhibiting patriotism Peter had committed a crime and was arrested by the Nazi’s and imprisoned.  While there he began to think about the validity of his faith as he watched loyal Dutchmen being lead off to be executed.

He realized that though he had been raised in the christian faith, and knew much of the Bible, he did not have the same faith as those he watched suffer in prison.  He soon realized that his faith was not valid.

His mother Nollie, risking imprisonment, smuggled a new testament into the prison for her 16 year old son.   Peter read it with new eyes and in the quiet corner of his prison cell, he surrender his heart to Christ.  He would later testify, “I have come to prison to find Christ to be an unfailing friend.”

Casper was so thrilled to hear of his grandson’s salvation that he arranged a party to be thrown as soon as Peter was free, which would be weeks later.

After his release, Peter and others worked with the Dutch Resistance by freeing hundreds of Jewish children from orphanages.  This was always a difficult task because it required staying a step ahead of the S.S. troops, who were busy collecting them to be ship to concentration camps.

On February 28, 1944 Peter was arrested, along with Casper, Betsie, and Corrie, and taken to be interrogated.   But due to a lack of evidence the Nazi’s were not able to connect him to the suspected underground movement at the clock makers shop and was released.

Not much more is recorded on Peter’s life except for his efforts after the war.  He, like his famous Aunt, went around the world with the same message that forgiveness is the only answer in responding to hatred.

While on tour in Israel Peter had a heart attack. Prompt surgery was essential to save his life.  The cardiologist spoke with his patient before the operation. “I see your name is ten Boom. Are you by any chance related to the ten Booms of Haarlem?”

“Yes,” replied Peter. “That’s my family.”

The doctor replied, “And I’m one of the babies your family saved!”

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2 thoughts on “Cords of Faith

  1. History Note: Prince of Orange is a title of nobility, originally associated with the Principality of Orange, in what is now southern France. In French it is la Principauté d’Orange. The title is carried by members of the House of Orange-Nassau, as heirs to the crown of the Netherlands. Thanks Mark for asking.

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