COSTA MESA, Calif. — The late Corrie ten Boom, renowned for helping Jews escape the Nazis in Holland during World War II, moved to the U.S. in the 1980s and was asked on occasion to come to the pulpit when pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel would say to her: "Give us the Word!"
Calvary Chapel held a special screening last month for the film "Return to the Hiding Place" — a sequel of sorts to "The Hiding Place," released 40 years ago — which is the story of ten Boom's "army of untrained teenagers" who helped the Jews living in Holland escape the Holocaust.
Ten Boom considered Pastor Chuck her pastor the last eight to 10 years of her life, the producers of the film who attended the screening said to this reporter. Petra Pearce, who along with her father, director Peter Spencer, produced the film said that through the movie, shown on a big screen at the church, ten Boom has given "the Word once again behind the pulpit."
"Corrie has such a unique legacy in the Christian faith because of her experience in World War II and her sense of forgiveness, her deep understanding of redemption," Pearce said. "What our film does is that it not only unpacks the story further and shows Corrie working with these teenagers, the intricacies of their operations in their home, it shows how that faith that she symbolizes was spread into the hearts of young people.
"I think that exciting dimension that our film reveals is going to make the story of Corrie ten Boom, that everyone loves, feel so complete. It blows it wide open."
"Their (teenage Nazi resistance group) lives were in danger, and Return to the Hiding Place shows to young people that if you stay faithful to Christ he can do things through you that you never dreamed you could do," Spencer said.
Perhaps, if there was ever a time for a youth movement coming from the Christian community, it is now. Spencer, who spent the last two decades on the film project after meeting Hans Poley, a member of the resistance group portrayed in the movie, said that although the story appeals to everyone, he hopes young people can learn from the "young resistance fighters [that] changed the face of Europe's history."
"This is an amazing story of young people risking their lives and putting it out on the line. Most people this age (currently) all they care about is Xbox," he said. "It was a secret teenage army of people 13 to 17 years old who literally were the ones that hid all the Jews in her (ten Boom's) home — there were 880 total. Some of them lost their lives defending total strangers, protecting them and smuggling them. There's so many heroic things these young people did. They would intercept caravans that were taking prisoners and take them out. They were raiding Gustapo headquarters. They would steal food coupons so they could feed the Jews that were in their house."
Ten Boom emigrated to Placentia, California, in 1977 at the age of 85. A year later, she suffered a stroke that made her unable to speak, then another one resulting in paralysis. On her 91st birthday on April 15, 1983, she died after a third stroke.
In addition to its DVD release in September, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association plans to package "Return to the Hiding Place" in a two-movie set coupled with "The Hiding Place," produced by the association.
On the Web: http://www.hide-movie.com/