CHAPTER FIFTEEN - The Three Visions


The beauty of Betsie's face sustained Corrie over the next days as she went from one woman to another telling them about the miracle of the peace and joy that was on her sister's face. Three mornings after Betsie's death, Corrie was called over the loudspeaker to stand aside for the count, and then she was ordered to follow a guard where she stood in line until she received an order of discharge. Finally, like Betsie who had gone to God, Corrie, too, was released. However, she didn't pass the medical inspection required for release, so she was sent to the hospital until she could reduce the swelling in her legs and ankles.

Her time in the hospital was unimaginable for Corrie who saw the most terrible suffering and the even worse indifference of the hospital staff. Every day she hobbled for inspection and wondered as she did many what ifs . . . She knew that Betsie would never have passed the physical and probably would have been sent to the gas chambers, but in her mind, she heard Betsie say that there are no ifs in God's Kingdom. Everything was in God's time. So, Corrie waited again, dealing with such disgusting moments as having a gangrenous bandage thrown in her face as she pleaded with some Gypsy women to share the bedpans they were hoarding. Eventually, she was able to calm the sick and go on with her wait.

The morning after that event, the doctor finally gave her permission to leave. She was outfitted with clothing and handed a form to sign, claiming that she had never been ill at Ravensbruck. She signed. The world would soon enough know the truth about the camp. She was then given enough food for one day and ration coupons for three more, as well as her watch, her mother's ring, and the money she had on her when she was first arrested. She and twelve other women were taken to the train station and left there to wait for a train that would take them to Berlin. They were on their own after that. Somehow during the wait, Corrie lost the packet with her jewelry, money, and coupons. It was New Year's Day, 1945, and she and Betsie were out of prison at the exact time that Betsie predicted.

Corrie had trouble finding the right platform for home, but a kindly man led her where she needed to go. At one stop, she tried to use her Dutch guilders since her coupons were gone, but the café refused to feed her. So, she climbed back on the train, nearly faint with hunger and watched once-beautiful Germany pass by out the window. Now it was fire-blackened and gaunt, but Corrie persisted in finding all the trains she needed and finally came to Holland. The train in Holland was only going as far as Gronigen, because the tracks were all torn up. So Corrie got off, limped to a hospital, and was invited by a nurse into her office. There, she was given some food and told she could have the bed of one of the staff, because all the other beds were filled. She had a long warm bath and never felt so good. She stayed at the hospital there for ten days. She ached to get to Willem and Nollie, but there was a travel ban. So, at last, the girl at the hospital switchboard got through to the operator at Hilversum with the news of Betsie's death and Corrie's survival. The next week, the hospital authorities arranged for Corrie to catch a ride on a food truck. They made the illegal trip at night without headlights, and in the morning, they pulled up in front of Willem's nursing home. Corrie was back with her brother and his family.

Willem told Corrie that they had still had no news of Kik since his deportation. He almost wished his son were with Betsie and Father, so he wouldn't be suffering. Corrie spent two weeks with her brother, trying to come to some acceptance of what she was seeing: Willem was dying. Nonetheless, Corrie needed to get home. The Beje seemed to be calling to her. So, Willem finally arranged transportation, and she was taken to a long black limousine. When she climbed inside, she saw Pickwick. He drove her home, warning her that the Beje would be changed. Homeless people had been allowed to live there, although he believed it empty now. Also, Toos had heard she was returning and had come back to open the watch shop. They were still running the underground operation and all their Jews were still safe, although Mary Itallie had been sent to Poland after being arrested. When they arrived, Nollie and her girls came to meet Corrie. They had been cleaning and preparing the house all day in expectation of her arrival. Toos stood off to the side laughing and crying at the same time, because she was glad Corrie was home, but she was also sad that the only two people she had ever allowed herself to love - Father and Betsie - were no longer there. Corrie was so glad to be home that the first thing she did was rewind the old Frisen clock.

In spite of feeling so good to be home, Corrie still felt something was not right. She missed her cat that had run away and she felt as if the house needed people to fill the rooms. So she opened the house to the feeble-minded who had been hidden by their families from the Nazis. However, even that didn't resolve her restlessness. She began to spend less and less time in the shop. She thought helping the underground again might be the answer, but discovered delivering false papers or secret messages was too frightening for her. Then, she decided that it was Betsie she was missing, and she remembered how her sister had told her that they must tell what they had experienced. As a result, Corrie began to speak. At every meeting, she talked about Betsie's dream of the home in Holland where those who had been hurt could learn to live again unafraid. At one of the meetings, a wealthy aristocratic woman named Mrs. Bierens de Haan came up to her and told her she had a large mansion with a garden. She also had five sons in the Resistance Movement. One had been taken to Germany, and she told Corrie that she had a vision that her son would come home if she opened her house to the dream of Betsie ten Boom.

Two weeks later, Corrie received a note telling her the son had come home. Corrie went to the woman's home and discovered that it contained everything that Betsie had seen in her vision from the tall windows to the gardens to the inlaid wood floor. Everything she told Mrs. Bierens de Haan that Betsie had imagined was there in that beautiful house.

By the second week in May, the Allies had re-taken Holland and by June 1st, many broken people began to come to the house. Each and every one of them learned while they were there that they were not the only ones who had suffered and that they had to forgive those who had hurt them. Corrie then turned the Beje into a home for the collaborators who were so hated by their fellow Dutchmen. They, too, needed to heal, and Corrie was determined to give them the chance. Because Betsie's story was so magical and people were hungry to hear it, Corrie began to travel all over Europe and especially to Germany where the hunger for hope was the greatest. A great weight hung over that land.

In Munich, Corrie met up with the first guard at Ravensbruck she had seen since her release. He tried to shake her hand, but at first, she resisted him. Her anger and bitterness over how he had laughed at her nakedness overwhelmed her, and she had to beg God to help her forgive him and so be forgiven herself. She finally took his hand and the most incredible thing happened. She felt a current pass from him to her, and a love for this stranger sprang into her heart. She realized that when God told us to love our enemies, he gave, along with that command, the love itself. Then, Corrie began to live among the homeless people of Germany so she could truly understand their pain. While she was there, a relief organization worker came up to her to ask her for help. Before she could say that she had no experience in rehabilitation work, the man told her that they already had a place where it could begin. It was a former concentration camp at Darmstadt and as Corrie walked through the camp, she no longer saw misery or fear. She saw window boxes and lots of brightly colored paint and a garden with flowers coming up in the spring. Corrie was fulfilling Betsie's dream and the will of God.


Corrie's final chapter is one which shows the power and love of God in the form of three visions. The first is New Year's Day, 1945. Betsie had predicted they would both be released by that day and she was right. The second vision comes in the form of Mrs. Bierens de Haan who said that she had a vision that her missing son would come home and she would open her home to those hurt by the war. Her son does come home and the beautiful house is opened to fulfill Betsie's dream. The third vision concerns the house itself. Everything about it is exactly the way Betsie pictured it. The visions are the final message from God that he will never withhold His love from those who believe in Him.



Corrie officially opened the camp in Darmstadt with the support of the German Lutheran Church in 1946. The home of Mrs. Bierens de Haan remained open until 1950 and eventually the services provided there re-opened in a new building and it's still in operation today. Since 1967, it has been operated by the Dutch Reformed Church.

Willem died of tuberculosis of the spine in December 1946. His last book was finished standing up, because the pain of his illness would not allow him to sit. On his deathbed, he told his wife, It is well - it is very well - with Kik. In 1953, the family learned that Kik had died in 1944 in Bergen-Belsen.

Peter devoted his musical ability to God and even today, he and his family travel all over Europe and the Near East, bringing the word of God.

Corrie visited Ravensbruck in 1959 where she learned that 95,000 women had died there. She also learned that her release was the result of a clerical error. One week later, all women her age were taken to the gas chambers. She continued to travel and speak well into her eighties and brought Betsie's message: Jesus can turn loss into glory. She spent her final years with friends in Orange County, California. She eventually suffered a series of strokes that left her unable to move or speak, but she never stopped her ministry. Everyone who came to cheer her up left feeling that they were the ones cheered, uplifted, challenged. She finally went to her real home on her 91st birthday, April 15, 1983.


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