For my Mother’s Day gift, I sent away (six weeks ago) to Ancestry.com for my DNA results, curious as to my ancestors’ beginnings.
I discovered I am 39% Dutch, 25% British, 25% Irish, 8% Scandinavian and 2% Jewish! I knew I was mostly Dutch; but, it is fun to see the extent of my grandparents’ and great grandparents’ history.
Of course, I immediately identified with Audrey Hepburn, a famous actress, who was also Dutch! I’m certain we are cousins! Look at the resemblance!
Born Audrey Kathleen Ruston, (did you know her middle name was Kathleen?) did you know Audrey was inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame? She loved performing and looking fabulous.
Ah, the similarities between us are mind boggling!
Do you remember Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States, and the first president who was not of English, Irish, or Scottish descent? Dutch was spoken in his house when he was a boy.
Thomas Edison, also Dutch, was an inventor and businessman. Another Dutchman, Walter Cronkite, became a CBS Evening News anchor. Perhaps, my creative and inquiring mind comes from such as these?
Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt may be the most famous Dutch painters. Okay, sadly, I have nothing in common with either of them.
My, it’s been so interesting investigating since my DNA results have come back!
However, hands down, the brightest part in all this exploring was discovering Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom was also Dutch. She was a smart, young watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. She was arrested and imprisoned for her actions.
Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, is a biography that recounts the story of her family’s efforts, as well as her time spent in a concentration camp.
If I were to wish any likeness of any Dutch person, Corrie ten Boom would be such a hero.
Listen to this information found on Corrie:
“In May 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. In May 1942, a well-dressed woman came to the ten Booms’ with a suitcase in hand and told them that she was a Jew, her husband had been arrested several months before, her son had gone into hiding, and Occupation authorities had recently visited her, so she was afraid to go back home. She had heard that the ten Booms had helped their Jewish neighbors, and asked if they might help her too.
Corrie’s father readily agreed that she could stay with them, despite the police headquarters being only half a block away. A devoted reader of the Old Testament, he believed that the Jews were God’s ‘chosen people,’ and he told the woman, “In this household, God’s people are always welcome.”
Thus the ten Booms began “The Hiding Place.” Corrie and her sister Betsie opened their home to refugees — both Jews and others who were members of the resistance movement — being sought by the Gestapo and its Dutch counterpart. They had plenty of room, although wartime shortages meant that food was scarce.
Every non-Jewish Dutch person had received a ration card, the requirement for obtaining weekly food coupons. Through her charitable work, ten Boom knew many people and remembered a couple who had a disabled daughter. Corrie went to their house one evening- hoping to get help- and when the father asked how many ration cards she needed, “I opened my mouth to say, ‘Five,'” ten Boom wrote in The Hiding Place. “But the number that unexpectedly and astonishingly came out instead was: ‘One hundred.’ He gave them to her and she provided cards to every Jew she met.
The refugee work done by ten Boom and her sister became known by the Dutch Resistance. The Resistance sent an architect to the ten Boom home to build a secret room adjacent to ten Boom’s room for the Jews in hiding, as well as an alert buzzer to warn the refugees to get into the room as quickly as possible.
On February 28, 1944, an informant told the Nazis about the ten Booms’ work; Nazis arrested the entire ten Boom family. They were sent to Scheveningen prison when Resistance materials and extra ration cards were found at the home. The six Jewish people hidden by the ten Booms, remained undiscovered in the secret room. Corrie ten Boom received a letter one day in prison reading “All the watches in your cabinet are safe,” meaning the refugees had managed to escape and were safe.
Corrie and Betsie were sent to political concentration camps, and finally to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, a women’s labor camp in Germany. The conditions were deplorable. Unbelievably, they held worship services in their room, after the hard days at work, using a Bible that they had managed to sneak inside. Betsie’s health continued to deteriorate and she died on December 16, 1944 at the age of 59.
Fifteen days later, Corrie was released from prison.
After some months, she discovered, her release was due to a clerical error and exactly one week after her release, all the women in her age group were sent to the gas chambers.”
Corrie traveled the world as a speaker after the war. Her topic was forgiveness.
Her life reflected her words. In one of her audiences, she met a former Nazi guard who brutalized her sister while in prison. He asked for her forgiveness, and received it.
God’s power is a miracle-working phenomenon.
My favorite Corrie ten Boom quotes:
“Don’t bother to give God instructions, just report for duty.”
“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”
“God takes our sins – the past, present, and future, and dumps them in the sea and puts up a sign that says NO FISHING ALLOWED.”
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
As fun as this DNA research process has been, I love that God sees every heart in every person- and the condition of our hearts is ALL that matters to Him!
Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the Heart.” I Sam. 16:7 The Message