Karel From the Hiding Place: Corrie’s Failed Courtship

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Who was Karel from The Hiding Place? How did his relationship with Corrie ten Boom affect her?

Karel was a classmate Corrie met when she was 14. Later, Karel and Corrie had a brief courtship that did not end in marriage.

Read about the relationship between Corrie and Karel from The Hiding Place.

When Did Corrie Meet Karel From the Hiding Place?

When Corrie was 14, she met Karel, a classmate and close friend of her older brother Willem. She was immediately smitten with the young man, and she fantasized about a married life with him. Although Corrie was becoming interested in boys and romance at this time, she lacked confidence that she would ever find a husband. She was bashful and shy, and she did not think of herself as pretty. She sometimes struggled in social situations—she kept silent, despite having much to say. 

The Failed Courtship

Corrie and Karel from The Hiding Place began a brief courtship, during which Karel would visit the ten Boom home and take Corrie out for walks around Haarlem. The couple would talk about their future together and even discuss how many children they wished to have. She began to believe that she had found her partner, with whom she would be able to start her own family and live out the rest of her life. 

Sadly, this was not to be Corrie’s fate. Willem informed Corrie that, although Karel from The Hiding Place did indeed love her, the two would never be married. Karel’s parents, Willem explained, wanted their son to “marry well”—they wanted their daughter-in-law to have the right social pedigree and wealth. Corrie, in their eyes, was unfit to marry their son. Karel, although hurt by his parents’ antipathy to his courtship with Corrie, decided to acquiesce to their wishes. In Karel’s goodbye to Corrie, he begged her to write to him and keep him informed about her family, whom he had come to love.

Corrie’s Lesson From the Relationship

Corrie was initially devastated when Karel from The Hiding Place visited the Beje with his new fiancée. She shared her feelings with her father, who told her that love was the strongest force in all creation. Casper comforted her the way he always did, the way no one else could. He explained that Corrie should never seek to block out her love for Karel, but instead, look to God to show her a new way for that love to express itself. Even if our love could not find the expression or object we wanted, God always had a higher plan for it. 

Karel From the Hiding Place: Corrie’s Failed Courtship

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  • Why devout Christian Corrie ten Boom decided to stand up to the Nazi occupation
  • How ten Boom and the Jewish neighbors she was hiding were caught
  • How ten Boom survived the concentration camp and left with even stronger faith

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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