Do we know the name of the Ravensbrueck Camp Guard Corrie Ten Boom met in Berlin after the war?
After the war, Corrie Ten Boom travelled the world telling her story. At a meeting at a church in Berlin, she met this man whom she described as a cruel Guard. He explained that he had become a Christian himself and had asked God to lead him to one of his victims so that he could ask her forgiveness. The incident had a happy ending. She found forgiveness possible. He felt that God had answered his prayer.
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In The Hiding Place, ten Boom does not name the guard, but only says that she recognized him as the first SS jailer she encountered at Ravensbruck.
In other speeches and in biographies, she retells the story, but never uses the man's name. I suspect there are multiple reasons, including protecting him from harm, but, knowing Corrie ten Boom's heart, I think the primary reason she omits his name is that she wants the focus to be on how God can forgive through us--even when we are resistant.
In a 1972 interview for Guidepost magazine, she related:
And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling."
That truly is the essence of the encounter and of her life's work: Forgiveness is a choice, and God is faithful to honor those who forgive.
Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch missionary, saved many Jews dring the Holocaust. Her family built a hiding room where they harbored many local Jews. A novel entitled The Hiding Place, published in 1971, told the tale of ten Boom and her family.
The name of the guard is not known though Corrie ten Boom's famous interaction with him is well-known. Although the guard had been present when Corrie's sister, Betsie, was killed, Corrie felt an obligation to forgive him. The man claimed to have found God after the war and firmly believed that He had forgiven him. Corrie found it in her heart to do the same because of her Christian beliefs.
Corrie ten Boom was proclaimed Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel due to her heroic efforts during the Holocaust.
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