Teaching Students About Corrie Ten Boom


Corrie ten Boom, born in 1892, was a Dutch Christian watchmaker who became a prominent figure during World War II for her role in hiding Jews and members of the Dutch underground in her family’s home. Her story is one of resilience, faith, and heroism, offering invaluable lessons to students not only about the Holocaust but also about the power of empathy and compassion. This article explores various ways educators can teach their students about Corrie ten Boom and her extraordinary life.

Incorporating Corrie ten Boom’s Story into Your Curriculum

Literature Study – “The Hiding Place”

Begin your exploration of Corrie ten Boom’s story by introducing your students to her memoir, “The Hiding Place.” Co-authored with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, this book details ten Boom’s experiences during the Holocaust. Reading this compelling narrative will give students an intimate understanding of her life, faith, and courageous deeds.

Historical Context

Provide students with historical context by discussing the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime in Germany, as well as the occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Understanding this period will allow your students to appreciate Corrie ten Boom’s actions on a deeper level.

Tolerance and Empathy

Discuss the importance of tolerance and empathy in Corrie ten Boom’s life and actions. Teach students about her family’s strong faith-based values that led them to risk their lives to protect vulnerable people during World War II.

Corrie’s Journey

Follow Corrie ten Boom’s journey as she was arrested with her family, endured imprisonment, and managed to survive Ravensbrück – a notorious women’s concentration camp – where her sister Betsie died. Discuss how her unwavering faith helped sustain her through these difficult times.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Highlight Corrie ten Boom’s post-war mission of promoting forgiveness and reconciliation between victims and their oppressors. Talk about her establishment of rehabilitation centers for Holocaust survivors and how her life is a testament to the power of forgiveness.

Classroom Activities

Role Play

Assign students various roles from “The Hiding Place” such as Corrie, Betsie, Casper (father), and members of the Dutch underground, to re-enact pivotal scenes from the book. This activity will help students develop a deeper understanding of the events and emotions experienced by those involved.

Analyzing Primary Sources

Provide students with primary sources like letters, diary entries, and photographs to analyze and better understand Corrie ten Boom’s life. Encourage thoughtful discussions about why her story is significant.

Research Project

Ask students to conduct research on other heroes of the Holocaust, such as Oskar Schindler, Irena Sendler, or Raoul Wallenberg. This will broaden their knowledge of the courageous individuals who risked their lives to save others during this dark period in history.

Screen “The Hiding Place” Film

Screen the 1975 film adaptation of “The Hiding Place” in your classroom, giving students a visual representation of Corrie ten Boom’s story for further discussion and analysis.


Teaching students about Corrie ten Boom offers valuable lessons in empathy, compassion, faith, forgiveness, and standing up against injustice. It exposes them to a remarkable woman who chose to find light amidst darkness, demonstrating the importance of cultivating personal values that can make a positive difference in the world.

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