Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The camps

As we continue into chapter 12 of Corries story, she leaves the prison and heads to a concentration camp at Vught. She is thankful to be with her sister again and they are happy to not be heading into Germany. Corrie gives us more stories of the faith and grace that Betsie carries with her always. When they are entering the camp they are given a demonstration by a young girl about punishment in the bunkers and they are having to wait for a long time to be processed into the camp. The following conversation between Betsie and Corrie follows:

"Betsie!" I wailed, "how long will it take?"

"Perhaps a long, long time. Perhaps many years. But what better way could there be to spend our lives?"

I turned to stare at her. "Whatever are you talking about?"

"These young women. That girl back at the bunkers. Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way , you and I, no matter how long it takes..."

These examples of Betsie's grace and faith are given throughout the book. Corrie is always astonished and amazed by her sister. She even said once herself, "And I wondered, not for the first time, what sort of a person she was, this sister of mine... what kind of road she followed while I trudged beside her on the all-too-solid-earth." Betsie is a great source of strength and guidance for Corrie in directing her many times back to prayer for not only those hurting but those who are hurting others.

Photo of Barracks at Ravensbruck (Picture Source)

The fighting seems to be getting closer to the camp and the prisoners still alive after recent executions are taken to a new camp. They take a long and terrible train ride into Germany and arrive at the concentration camp, Ravensbruck. During the train ride Betsie mentions to Corrie what she is thankful for amidst all that is bad, that their father is in Heaven.

The women are not happy about coming to Ravensbruck. Corrie tells us it was known as a woman extermination camp even back in Harlaam. Corrie describes to us the horrific conditions they were forced to live in and the things they had to do. And even through all this they were still thankful for what God had given them. God had allowed Corrie to bring in the bible and vitamins without being searched when everyone else around her was. A miracle indeed! When they are assigned to their barracks which are terrible conditions, they find out that there are fleas everywhere. The conversation that followed that Corrie shares with us is one of the parts of the book I still remember most and carry with me. It is rather long to type so I urge you to read the book yourself to find out about what Betsie says to Corrie about the fleas in chapter 13. But I will tell you that Betsie reminds Corrie of a part of the bible they had just read that morning, "Give thanks in all circumstances! That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!" Even Corrie can't believe Betsie to really give thanks for fleas at this time but she comes around later.

Corrie continues to describe for us the conditions and goings on at Ravensbruck. The terrible work and conditions and how the townspeople turned their eyes when they would go by. I wonder what that would be like to see this happening but be unable to do anything? Corrie tells us about the worship service they would hold at the end of the day in the barracks where different denominations would come together and worship. How joyous to learn that this was going on in those camps! Corrie tells us the miracle of the vitamin bottle that never stops producing which Betsie describes as a "Gift from a Father who loves you." Corrie finishes chapter 13 telling us more about the conditions and how Betsie becomes sick. We receive more encouragement from the wisdom and faith of Betsie. And again I urge you to read it to get all the details if you haven't yet. We will continue in Chapter 14 next. If you want to see more pictures or read up on Ravensbruck or Vught you can google it and find lots of sources. Thanks for reading!

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