Casper ten Boom

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Casper ten Boom
Personal details
Born(1859-05-18)18 May 1859
Haarlem, Netherlands
Died9 March 1944(1944-03-09) (aged 84)
Scheveningen Prison
DenominationDutch Reformed Protestant
ResidenceBarteljorisstraat 19, Haarlem, Netherlands
ParentsWillem and Elisabeth ten Boom
SpouseCornelia Johanna Arnolda ten Boom-Luitingh
ChildrenBetsie, Willem, Nollie, Corrie
EducationPrimary School

Casper ten Boom (18 May 1859 – 9 March 1944) was a Dutch Christian who helped many Jews and resisters escape the Nazis during the Holocaust of World War II. He is the father of Betsie and Corrie ten Boom, who also aided the Jews and were sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp where Betsie died. Casper ten Boom died 9 March 1944 in The Hague, after nine days imprisonment in the Scheveningen Prison.


Casper was born in Haarlem in 1859, the son of Willem ten Boom, who had a watchshop. When Ten Boom was eighteen years old, he started a jewelry store in Amsterdam. He had grown up in a family that belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church and had strong faith. While living in Amsterdam, he started a work among the poor people called Tot Heil des Volks (For the Salvation of the People). Later he returned to Haarlem to live.[1]

Marriage and family[edit]

In Sunday School he met Cornelia Johanna Arnolda Luitingh (commonly known as "Cor"), whom he married in 1884.[1] Like his father, he lived and worked in the same building, with the shop on the ground floor and living quarters on the two floors above.[2] He and Cor had five children, four of whom survived to adulthood: Elisabeth "Betsie" (1885-1944), Willem (21 November 1886 - 13 December 1946), Arnolda Johanna "Nollie" (1890 - 22 October 1953), and Cornelia Arnolda Johanna "Corrie" (1892-1983). Another child, Hendrick Jan (12 September 1888 - 6 March 1889), died in infancy. Casper's wife died in 1921 from a stroke.

While Willem and Nollie both married and moved away, Ten Boom lived with his two unmarried daughters Betsie and Corrie in their home and watchmaking workshop.[2] The Ten Boom family were members of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church.[3]

Activities during the Occupation[edit]

The Ten Boom family were devout and generous Christians. According to The Hiding Place, in 1918 the family took in the first of many foster children that they would shelter over the years. Corrie ran special church services for disabled children for 20 years. The Dutch Reformed Church "protested Nazi persecution of Jews as an injustice to fellow human beings and an affront to divine authority."[3] The Ten Boom family strongly believed that people were equal before God.

During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, Ten Boom and his daughters became active in sheltering Jewish people who were trying to escape the Nazis at their home. In May 1942, a woman came to the house and asked for help. She said she was a Jew, that her husband had been arrested several months before, and her son had gone into hiding. As Occupation authorities had visited her, she was afraid to return home. She had heard that the family had helped other Jews, and asked if she could stay with them; to which Casper agreed. He told her, "In this household, God's people are always welcome." When the Nazis began requiring all Jews to wear the Star of David, he voluntarily wore one also.[4] His son Willem, a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, also worked in a non-denominational nursing home. During the occupation, he sheltered many Jews there to save them from the Nazis.[3]

Arrest and death[edit]

Gravestone of Casper ten Boom

On 28 February 1944 the Gestapo raided his house and arrested Ten Boom and his daughters, as well as his son Willem, and grandson Peter, who were visiting. The Gestapo arrested other supporters who visited the house during the day, taking a total of about 30 people to Scheveningen prison.[3]

When Ten Boom was interrogated in prison, the Gestapo told him they would release him because of his age so that he could "die in his own bed". He replied: "If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door to anyone who knocks for help".[4] When asked if he knew he could die for helping Jews, he replied, "It would be an honor to give my life for God's chosen people."[2] On 9 March Casper died at the Hague Municipal Hospital, at the age of 84, after nine days in Scheveningen prison.

His daughter Betsie died at Ravensbrück in December 1944. His son Willem contracted spinal tuberculosis (TB) while imprisoned for his resistance work. Although he was released, he died of TB shortly after the war. Willem's son Christiaan, then 24, was sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp for his work in the underground, and died there during the war.[2]



  1. ^ a b "Father Ten Boom: God's Man". Fleming H. Revell Co., Old Tappen, New Jersey: 1978.
  2. ^ a b c d Corrie ten Boom museum - history Archived December 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c d "Corrie ten Boom", United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia
  4. ^ a b The Complete Book of Christian Heroes: Over 200 Stories of Courageous People