Nazi Policies - Wearing the Yellow Star

In occupied Holland, Dutch churches issued a collective protest against the treatment of the country's Jews.  Although Hitler's government ("the Reich") ignored such pleas, many Dutch citizens did all they could to protect innocent people and prevent deportation.  Without hesitation, they actively disobey the Nazis' unjust laws.

Some non-Jewish Dutch citizens - like Casper ten Boom, an elderly watchmaker from Haarlem - decided to voluntarily wear the yellow star.  He reasoned that if everyone wore the humiliating symbol, how could Reich officials distinguish Jews from non-Jews?  His act of defiance is recreated in this clip from "The Hiding Place," a film based on his daughter's book of the same name.

Casper ten Boom - whose family was among those actively helping to save Jews and Dutch-resistance members from death at the hands of Holland-occupying Nazis - ultimately paid with his life.  So did several other members of his family.  His daughter Corrie, however, survived to tell the story.

Nearly fifty years old, when Holland fell in May of 1940, Corrie resolved to help Jewish people one night while she was visiting Jewish friends:

As arrests of Jews in the streets became more frequent, I had begun picking up and delivering work for our Jewish customers myself [the ten Boom family had a watch shop in Haarlem] so that they would not have to venture into the center of town.  And so one evening in the early spring of 1942 I was in the home of a doctor and his wife ...

The Heemstras and I were talking about the things that were discussed whenever a group of people got together in those days, rationing and the news from England, when down the stairs piped a childish voice.

"Daddy!  You didn't tuck us in!"

Dr. Heemstra was on his feet in an instant.  With an apology to his wife and me he hurried upstairs and in a minute we heard a game of hide-and-seek going and the shrill laughter of two children.

That was all.  Nothing had changed.  Mrs. Heemstra continued with her recipe for stretching the tea ration with rose leaves.  And yet everything was changed.  For in that instant, reality broke through the numbness that had grown in me since the invasion.  At any minute there might be a rap on this door.  These children, this mother and father, might be ordered to the back of a truck.  (Corrie ten Boom, quoted in Women on the Frontlines:  A Call to Courage, by Michal Ann Goll, page 115.)

That instant, Corrie prayed for direction how to help her friends and others:

I offer myself for Your people.  In any way.  Any place.  Any time.  (Women on the Frontlines, page 116.)

A scene from Dr. Heemstra's relationship with the ten Boom family is also dramatized in this clip.  In it, he asks Corrie to save a Jewish baby.  Although warned against such actions by a Christian pastor, the ten Booms do not hesitate to help the child. 

In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie recounts her father's response to the pastor (after he warns that the family could "lose your lives for this Jewish child"):

I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to our family.

Corrie and her family ultimately helped to save 800 people - through a "hiding place" built in Corrie's bedroom - before the ten Booms were betrayed by a Dutchman, working for the Nazis, on February 28, 1944. 

The Gestapo never found the six people who were inside the secret space when the house was searched.  About forty-seven hours later, a member of the Dutch resistance let them out through an upstairs window

The ten Booms were punished for having illegal ration cards, which the Gestapo found hidden in the stairwell of their home.  (Be patient with this slow-loading virtual tour.)  Corrie and her sister Betsie were ultimately sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where Betsie died.  Corrie was released, due to a clerical error, not long before other women in her age group, also imprisoned at Ravensbrück, were executed.

Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem) honored Corrie in several ways, including this case study (scroll down 45% on this PDF link) and a tree along the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations

Following the war, she was invited to tell her story all over the world.  After traveling extensively, Corrie retired in America.  She died in California, on her birthday - April 15, 1983 - at the age of 91.

See, also:

The Hiding Place:  Resisting Hitler


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 11, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Apr 08, 2019

Media Credits

Clip from "The Hiding Place," a 1975 film by World Wide Pictures, Inc.

James F. Collier

Frank R. Jacobson, William F. Brown

Allan Sloane and Lawrence Holben based on "The Hiding Place," by Corrie Ten Boom

Julie Harris (Betsie)

Jeannette Clift George (Corrie)

Eileen Heckart (Katja)

Arthur O'Connell - in his last film (Papa)

Musical Score:    
Tedd Smith

Michael Reed

Distributed by:

World Wide Pictures

Release date:
May, 1975

Run time:    
150 minutes

Quoted passages from Women on the Frontlines:  A Call to Courage, by Michal Ann Goll, online courtesy Google Books.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Nazi Policies - Wearing the Yellow Star" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 11, 2014. Feb 17, 2020.
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