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Secret Room

Heroes of faith: the story of Corrie Ten Boom

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the importance of standing up for those in need.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the children whether they have ever played hide-and-seek. Ask them whether they can think of any great hiding places in their homes, gardens, playground and so on.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Identify that it is important to keep very quiet when playing hide-and-seek, especially when the seeker comes close.

  3. Ask the children to stand up and wriggle around for a bit. Then, ask them to stand completely still for 30 seconds. Point out that it’s difficult to keep still even for that length of time.

    Next, ask the children to hold their breath for ten seconds. Even this can be hard to do and we wouldn’t want to keep holding our breath for very long anyway!

    Ask the children to imagine trying to keep completely quiet and still for a long time - what if they got the hiccups or needed to sneeze?

  4. Explain that you are going to tell the children a true story about a woman called Corrie Ten Boom. A name like ‘Boom’ might make us think that she wouldn’t be very good at a quiet game like hide-and-seek.

  5. Show the slides as you tell the children about Corrie Ten Boom.

    Show Slide 1.

    This is Corrie as a young woman.

    Show Slide 2.

    This is Corrie with her family. Here, we can see her with her mum and dad, her two sisters and her brother.

    Show Slide 3.

    This is Corrie with her two sisters, Betsie and Nollie. Betsie is on the left, Nollie is in the middle and Corrie is on the right.

    Show Slide 4.

    The family lived above this shop in Haarlem, Holland. Corrie’s dad was a watchmaker and Corrie also learned this skill.

    Show Slide 5.

    Corrie’s family were Christians and they read the Bible together every day. The slide shows the Bible at Corrie’s house, which is now a museum.

  6. Explain that the Ten Booms were very happy together until the Second World War broke out. Soon, the family became concerned about some of the bad things that were going on. In 1940, soldiers marched into Corrie’s country, frightening and bullying people. The soldiers were especially unkind to people called Jews. They hated these people so much that they marched them away from their homes and put them into horrible prison camps where they were treated badly.

  7. One day, a Jewish woman with a baby in her arms came to Corrie’s house. ‘Please help me,’ she pleaded. ‘Can you hide my baby and me?’

    Identify that it is not easy to hide a baby.

    The family might have thought, ‘What if the baby cries? We’ll get into big trouble.’

    Instead, they showed compassion for this mother and her baby, and agreed to take them in. This was the beginning of Corrie and her family hiding many Jews.

  8. After a while, the family built a secret room inside Corrie’s bedroom. Hundreds of Jews hid there in the months to follow.

    Show Slide 6.

    This shows the wall in Corrie’s bedroom cut away to reveal the secret room behind.

    Show Slide 7.

    This shows us how those hiding in the room got in and out.

    Show Slide 8.

    This shows the inside of the hidden room. It would have been very cramped with lots of people in it.

  9. Explain that sometimes, the family would hold a practice drill, a bit like the school fire drill. One of the family would press a buzzer and everyone would have to clear up and hide in the secret room as fast as they could. The aim was to be hidden in one minute. For a long time, the soldiers didn’t know that people were hiding in the house. God kept them safe.

    However, one day, the soldiers found out what Corrie and her family were doing, and took them off to prison. At the time, there were six Jews hidden in the secret room, but the soldiers didn’t find them. Later, they were rescued from the room and escaped.

  10. The prison camp that Corrie ended up in was an awful place. However, she found that God was her hiding place even in prison. When she spoke to him in prayer and read the Bible that she had smuggled in, she found comfort and peace, which she shared with other people in the camp.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 9.

This is Corrie many years after she was released from the prison camp. She is back in her bedroom!

Show Slide 10.

Again, this is a picture of Corrie in later life. She lived until she was 91 years old. After the war, she travelled around the world, explaining to people the importance of forgiveness and love.

Show Slide 11.

Corrie forgave the people who had treated her and her family so badly.

There is a verse in the Bible that says, ‘You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.’ (Psalm 32.7)

Corrie believed that God was her hiding place, but as a little girl, she might have wondered what this verse meant.

Ask the children, ‘Why would anyone need a hiding place?’

Listen to a range of responses.

Corrie and her family were very brave. They cared about others and stood up for people who were being treated badly, even though this put them in danger.

Ask the children the following questions, pausing to allow time for thought after each one.

Are we brave?
Will we be like Corrie and help others who are being picked on or bullied?
What might we do to help?

Dear God,
Thank you for Corrie Ten Boom, and for all that she did to help others.
Please help us to stand up for those who are being treated badly in our world.

Publication date: May 2022   (Vol.24 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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