A Prisoner, And Yet…

by Corrie ten Boom

A Prisoner, And Yet…by Corrie ten Boom

Book Review:

A Prisoner, and Yet…by Corrie ten Boom

Miss Corrie ten Boom discovered firsthand what she spent the rest of her life re-telling: Our Savior is right with you, especially where the need is most dire. Here is an excerpt from “A Prisoner, and Yet…”:

“I talked with my Savior. Never before had fellowship with Him been so close. It was a joy I hoped would continue unchanged. I was a prisoner—and yet…how free!” ( 30).

Just who was this Corrie ten Boom? Read on…but first:

Pop Quiz!

Question: How many people’s lives have been impacted by the life of one middle-aged spinster lady from Holland?

Answer: Only the Lord Himself knows! But it’s a bunch!

(Yeah, you’re right, that was sort of a trick question.)

This amazing lady impacted the world by speaking up. After surviving Nazi brutality in WWII, Corrie ten Boom did what any sensible single woman in her 50’s does…she traveled the globe.

Wait…she did What?

After what she endured, why not just go home? Isn’t that what most of us would do? I mean, wouldn’t we feel this way…

Oh, I am so very weary. I must find my way back to a semblance of my old life. I need rest, and healing, and time to process all that I’ve been through. How I long for home. I’ve lost my Papa. My best friend and sister, Betsie…so many of my dear family, gone. I’ve lost trust in my fellow man…

Nope, not Corrie.

Makes me wonder how much our yearning for safety, security, and the good life prevent us from making the difference that we are meant to make in this troubled ole’ world. We have much to learn from Corrie.

The Message

Traveling to over 64 countries, living out of suitcases for 32 years, Corrie didn’t settle down into a rented house until she was 85 years old! And even then, she worked tirelessly on books and videos, until a stroke at last silenced her. Her message? It can be summed up in these three themes:

  • Gratefulness to God,
  • Trust in Him, and
  • Forgiveness*

Shining The Light

Corrie boldly strode right into some very dark places on this planet. She was compelled to shine the piercing Light of Christ.

Into brutal prisons around the world, she would tell the prisoners something vital—

There is a freedom that you can know, even in prison…There is freedom you can know, which Christ brings, into the surrendered life.

And, prisoners listened. They responded. Lives were changed. Why?

Because this lady knew what she was talking about. She survived concentration camp. And so the world sat up, and listened.

The Hiding Place

The incredible life of Corrie ten Boom, showcased in her book, The Hiding Place, is presently enjoying a resurgence of popularity. And that is tremendous. First published in 1970, her story of courage, hope, and forgiveness in the face of Nazi cruelty inspired a popular film by the same name, presented in 1975. A new stage rendition, adapted by A. S. Peterson, is coming into theaters in the U.S. this week. Here is some info, if you’d like to see it. (Viewings are limited, but let’s hope it will be available for downloading later on.) I saw it, and was moved by the performance. It was mostly accurate to Corrie’s writings, yet (due to time contrasts, perhaps) it minimized her triumph regarding forgiveness.

However, a good 17 years before her more famous The Hiding Place was published, Corrie wrote this little gem, A Prisoner and Yet…

A Prisoner, And Yet…

In it, she recounts much of the same content she would later share in The Hiding Place, yet this little volume is powerful in both its brevity and its freshness—this work was published not even ten years following her release from concentration camp.

The vignettes she shares are brief and powerful, with the raw emotion from her recent trauma still fresh in her memory.

Corrie recounts story after story of how faithful the Lord God was in meeting her in her various trials. She tells how God would bring to her mind snippets from the Bible that she had treasured throughout her life.


Corrie got sick, right after arrest. She was placed in a filthy solitary confinement cell, where she battled respiratory illness and acute loneliness, as well as worry over her other family members, the Jews hiding in her closet, and above all, her aged father (also arrested).

She could not know that her dear father had died in prison after only ten days following their arrest. He was perhaps only some hundreds of feet away from his daughter’s prison cells when the 84-year-old patriarch of the family died.

Caspar ten Boom

It is not hard to understand how both Corrie and Betsie demonstrated so much faith, and how that faith ministered to so many at the death camp. They were raised by a man of God.

Caspar ten Boom, their aged father, had told his cell-mates,

“If I am released tomorrow I shall go on the day after tomorrow giving aid to the Jews, and shelter and help to all who need it” (p 22).

This godly man possessed a quiet, yet powerful influence upon Corrie, one which would help set in motion a powerhouse of a daughter. Their home fostered obedience to Christ, devotion to God and to what He cares about, and love in action for their fellow men.

Both Corrie, and her older sister Betsie (who like so many, was murdered at Ravensbrück) embraced their father’s faith, making it their own.

The Mission

A Prisoner, And Yet…shares Corrie’s life mission following the war. Though she thought that both she and Betsie would work together, hand in hand, Corrie did not allow Betsie’s death to derail her from the dream. She would go on alone, and fulfill the sister’s plan.

Out of the camp, her goal was to preach two things, messages that she knew the post-war world had to hear.

  • She would bring the saving knowledge of true freedom in Christ, and

  • And, she would teach them how to forgive.


Following are some excerpts from A Prisoner, And Yet…

After months of illness where Corrie languished in solitary confinement, Corrie was at last allowed to walk outdoors. When she emerged into the light, she was struck by the beauty of the world. The contrast to her cold, depressing, stinking prison cell was starting. But her delight was short-lived.

Quite suddenly, the outside beauty lost its power to comfort.

It served to only underscore her sad, solitary condition.

Confronted by her utter aloneness, the beauty instantly vanished. The silence of the courtyard was all-encompassing. Even the beauty of the sky lost its allure. She felt entirely cut off from humanity.

Let’s hear it from Corrie’s own words:

“Beyond the wall, the silence was momentarily shattered by the rattle of a machine gun. Then, again, stillness—deep and ominous. It was two o’clock.

Everything about me looked like a city of the dead. The solitude of the garden, for the prisoner in solitary confinement.

‘And Enoch walked with God.’ flashed into my mind. Enoch was not homesick as he walked with God. That thought comforted me and took away the sense of loneliness.

I was no longer alone. God was with me. With Him I could go on; and once more I saw the blue sky, the flowers and shrubs, and I saw the garden as a part of a beautiful free world, in which I too, should someday be able to walk about.

The earth is, in much the same way, a solitary prison garden, and heaven is the great, free out-of-doors, where fulfillment of joy awaits us, the children of the Light” (32-33, emphasis mine).

This is one of many illustrations Corrie shares in this short book, showcasing how God would meet her right where she was, usually with a scripture verse, or a phrase, the God of light coming to meet His daughter in the dark. Missionary Hudson Taylor, a man of God who also treasured God’s Word, found God’s peace as close as his recollection of God’s presence. I can’t help but wonder if Corrie and Hudson have enjoyed many a chat together, in heaven, glorifying the God they loved and served so well.

Forbidden Prayer In Plain Sight

Here’s another moment Corrie shares from the book. By this time Corrie has left the prison where her family was initially held. She and Betsie and thousands of women now lived in the infamous Ravensbrück concentration camp.

During the crazy daily scramble to grab food, the women were watched less vigorously than any other time of day. Corrie recounts a time when God arranged a little prayer meeting, right under the eyes of the Nazis. She was able to minister in prayer—a forbidden activity.

“I was making my way through the mass of people when a young woman bumped into me. She was an acquaintance, and I asked, ‘How are you?’

We were standing face to face, looking at each other, and in her eyes was a world of despair. ‘Annie, don’t look like that. Are things so bad?’

‘I cannot stand it any longer. If I have to stay in this hell for one more week I shall go to pieces.’

But she would have to stay.

‘God does not ask what we can, or cannot, bear.’ I took her hand and began to talk to her.

‘You must not despair, Annie. Jesus is Victor, even if you cannot see it. If you are His, you will be given strength to go on. He will make you see things from God’s point of view, and then you will be strong.’

‘But what can I do?’

‘Surrender yourself to Him. Don’t you see that He is standing with arms outstretched; don’t you hear Him say, “Come unto me”?’

‘I would very much like to, but I cannot pray. You pray for me.’

Then we prayed. We held each other’s hands and had our eyes open. No one who saw us standing there could see that we were praying. All around us was the milling crowd of hundreds of people. When Annie moved on there was an expression of peace on her face. The Lord had heard our prayer” (148-149).

God Reigns, Even When it Doesn’t Look Like It

This book, and really all of Corrie’s books, maintain this theme: Christ is Victor.

All her books underscore her unshaken belief in the goodness of God, and of His reigning, triumphant power.

But of course she was human, not perfect. And she admits as much.

Witness her humility as she recounts what she viewed as weakness, and cowardice, by her silence in the face of evil.

Her authenticity is displayed for anyone to see. Deriding herself for not speaking up to injustice one day in the camp, she wrote:

“But I was not brave. I was often like a timid, fluttering bird, looking for a hiding place. As I pulled my dirty blanket over me I pressed close to Betsie and cried, softly, so she would not hear me, ‘Coward and wayward and weak, I change with the changing sky; today so eager and brave, tomorrow not caring to live. But He never gives in, and we two will win, Jesus and I’” (142).

I hope you can find a copy of this book. While you’re busy searching, look for Amazing Love, and God is My Hiding Place. These books provide short, daily readings; food for thoughtful contemplation, when you can catch a minute alone.

*Source: Ten Boom, Corrie, God Is My Hiding Place, Baker Publishing, 2021.
Quotations taken from: Ten Boom, Corrie, A Prisoner, and Yet. Christian Literature Crusade, 1954.