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Ten Boom museum and house in Haarlem, Holland | Wiki­media Commons

When she fin­ished speaking at a Munich church, she saw him, and the mem­ories flooded back. The laughter at the thin, naked bodies. The piles of flea-infested clothes. The face of her dying sister.

And when the former soldier at the women’s con­cen­tration camp at Ravens­bruck held out his hand to Corrie ten Boom, saying he had con­verted to Chris­tianity, she hes­i­tated: “I cannot forgive him.” Then, she prayed: “Jesus…Give me Your for­giveness.”
“As I took his hand, the most incredible thing hap­pened,” ten Boom recounted in her auto­bi­og­raphy, “The Hiding Place.” “From my shoulder, along my arm, and through my hand, a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost over­whelmed me.”

From saving nearly 800 Jews from the Gestapo to starting a camp to reha­bil­itate her captors, Corrie ten Boom, a ring­leader of the Jewish under­ground in the Nether­lands during World War II, exhibited the ded­i­cation to freedom trea­sured at Hillsdale College. Her com­mitment to Judeo-Christian values, per­sonal respon­si­bility, and edu­cation should give her a statue on the Liberty Walk.

And in front of the rising Christ Chapel would be the ideal spot for her. It would not only honor ten Boom’s example of her faith but also Jack and Jo Babbit, who donated the original $12.5 million to Hillsdale for the chapel. Jack Babbit served in the Army Air Corps during World War II on 29 combat mis­sions, and Jo Babbit’s brothers also fought — one was held prisoner and taken to a German con­cen­tration camp, according to a pro­mo­tional video for the chapel.

Born in 1892 and raised in Haarlem, Holland, ten Boom grew up in a close Christian home. She became the first female Dutch watch­maker, fol­lowing in her father’s foot­steps, and her parents taught her the lesson that would help her survive during the war — to love in all cir­cum­stances. When Jews began dis­ap­pearing after the Nazi invasion, the ten Booms opened their home to those in need and hid “God’s chosen people,” as her father said. After a man informed the Gestapo of the network, Nazis arrested ten Boom and her family in Feb­ruary 1944. Four Jews and two resis­tance workers, however, remained safe in the house’s hiding place.

Although most of her family was released from prison, guards took ten Boom and her sister Betsie to Her­zo­gen­busch and Ravens­bruck con­cen­tration camps. The ten Booms found hope in sharing the Bible’s story and imag­ining a future when they would reha­bil­itate the pris­oners and sol­diers. Corrie ten Boom did not give into a cold, hate-filled heart of which her father warned. She shared the Gospels and found hope in prayer, learning to thank God for even the fleas in the Ravens­bruck bar­racks.

Betsie ten Boom died in Ravens­bruck, but a clerical error soon released Corrie ten Boom, and she left Dec. 30, 1944. After recov­ering at home, she opened a reha­bil­i­tation center for con­cen­tration-camp sur­vivors and former sol­diers, just as she had promised her sister she would. Ten Boom later immi­grated to the United States and died on her 91st birthday, a blessing in the Jewish tra­dition.

Her story shares the values demon­strated by other leaders found on Hillsdale’s Liberty Walk — courage, patri­otism, piety. A statue of ten Boom, named a Righteous Among the Nations by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holo­caust Museum, would be unique, the first erected in her honor. She is also a strong female role model, worthy to stand alongside Mar­garet Thatcher.

And like the stu­dents who went to fight in the Civil War, ten Boom and her family made sac­ri­fices for truth and life. Like Fred­erick Dou­glass, she spoke for humanity and freedom.
Although not a politician like most of those on the Liberty Walk, ten Boom demon­strated statesman-like qual­ities. Instead of admin­is­tering a country, Corrie ten Boom gov­erned herself with wisdom and respectability even in the worst of cir­cum­stances. She showed what an average person ought to do in times of injustice. With only a home, courage, and faith, ten Boom exer­cised the per­sonal respon­si­bility needed in a free society by looking after her neighbors. She put her con­vic­tions first, relying on the Judeo-Christian teachings her father had respected and instilled in her.

After the war, ten Boom used her freedom to undo the harmful effects of anti-Semitic indoc­tri­nation by cre­ating a home for Jewish refugees and a camp for former con­cen­tration camp sol­diers. She also shared her story around the world to inspire others. Ten Boom became an edu­cator for truth. She used her freedom to free others. And that is the purpose of Hillsdale’s liberal edu­cation.

All Hillsdale stu­dents study states­manship, and some even hope to practice it. Most, however, will not have the chance. Most will be ordinary like Corrie ten Boom. Her statue would remind everyone on campus that even ordinary people can be called to act in extra­or­dinary ways.

Ms. Noble is a junior studying pol­itics and jour­nalism.