John and Elizabeth Sherrill, two American Christian authors, first heard about Corrie ten Boom while writing another book, “God’s Smugglers.” The subject of the biography, Brother Andrew, had travelled with Corrie during mission trips to Vietnam. She was a Dutch Christian who aided Jews during World War II. To a pair of biographers, the woman sounded too good to be true. Now in her mid-seventies, Corrie appeared to the Sherrills at a church service in Germany in May 1968. During this service, the Sherrills listened to victims of the Holocaust, including a man who appeared hopeless and without joy. However, Corrie’s message radiated with joy, peace and love, although she had shared a similar experience to the man. After the meeting, the Sherrills approached Corrie about a book and she complied. She felt that her story should be written down to reach a wider audience. For years, Corrie had been sharing her message at talks across the world.
The Sherrills visited the Beje with Corrie, who guided them through the tiny old house. They toured important places in Corrie’s life, including where she fell in love and the house where the Dutch Underground would meet. The Sherrills worked through the difficulties of getting Corrie to remember details like the size and color of a room. Although the voice in “The Hiding Place” belongs to Corrie, she could not have written the piece without detail-oriented ghostwriters like John and Elizabeth Sherrill. The Sherrills filled in details, by interviewing people like Peter ten Boom and Meyer Mossel, “Eusie,” both of whom had excellent memories. They built the rest on photographs and visits to the physical locations. Lastly, the Sherrills assisted Corrie with any difficulties she encountered with the language, as her mother-tongue was Dutch.
The book tells the story of Corrie’s early life and experience during World War II. The narrative, however, reaches beyond its particular time period. The Sherrills felt strongly that Corrie’s memories and anecdotes applied to the future more than the past. Corrie, too, felt a strong sense of purpose in “The Hiding Place,” which she hoped would bring the message of God’s love to the world. The book gets its title from two sources: the secret room in the ten Boom house and the verse in Psalm 119:114, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” The dual derivation speaks to Corrie’s main concerns in life: God and helping other people.
In 1971, John and Elizabeth Sherrill published “The Hiding Place” with their Christian publishing company called Chosen Books. In 1975, the Billy Graham Association made the book into a film. “The Hiding Place” is a bestselling book, which has been translated into many languages.