The Hiding Place

What specific ideas from HItler Youth and other Nazi propaganda result in Otto's cruel treatment of Christoffels?

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n 1939, when a young German watchmaker, Otto, comes to be an apprentice under father, the family realizes the effect of Nazism. Otto proudly states that he was in the Hitler Youth, and excuses himself during daily scripture reading. When questioned, Otto complains that Father was reading from the Old Testament, which he calls the Jews’ “Book of Lies.” Father believes that they can show Otto that he is mistaken; however, when Otto abuses Christoffels on account of his age Father draws the line. After shoving Christoffels into a wall, Otto is fired from the shop and leaves with great contempt for the family. Willem tell the family that Germany is systematically teaching its youth respect for authority and utter disrespect for the weak and elderly. The family worries for the future of Holland and the rest of the world.

Otto Altschuler’s German Nationalist attitudes about strength and weakness come as eerie foreshadowing of the Second World War. At the end of chapter four, Otto provides an illustration of what is happening in Germany. Otto’s treatment of Christoffels manifests hateful ideology, which teaches contempt for several groups of people. Through his behavior and actions, Otto is almost the personification of Hitler’s evil ideas. All of this drama unfolds from the perspective of a family watch business. Corrie presents the effects of the war on a small, personal scale, giving a sense of the individual’s reactions amid a massive conflict.