The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Summary and Analysis of Chapter 10: Scheveningen


After the raid, the Gestapo agents take the Beje group to headquarters in The Hague, where names and addresses are taken again. The chief interrogator says that Father can be sent home if he promises not to make any more trouble. However, Father tells him that tomorrow he will open his door to any man in need. After endless hours of questioning about addresses, number of children and occupations, Corrie feels frustration and anxiety. After a Jewish man in the room refuses to give up his possessions, soldiers beat him brutally and Corrie finds herself hating the man for being so helpless and so hurt. Once again Corrie is singled out as the ringleader.

Finally, they are marched out to an army truck, which bumps and jostles over the bombed streets. Willem tells them what he can see of the dark city and then shares news that they are approaching Scheveningen, a federal penitentiary in a seaside town. At the prison, they must face the wall before being separated by gender. The cruel prison matron forces them to their cells, forbidding them to walk on the softer matting in the middle of the corridor. Because prisoners from Haarlem are being separated, Corrie goes to a cell with several strangers. Some do not want her in the cell because of her illness, but a kind young woman tells Corrie to lie down on the filthy cot mattress.

Corrie begins to learn about prison life, which includes sanitary buckets, two meals of watery porridge and bread, her cellmate’s refusal to discuss personal lives and worst of all, prison boredom. Thankfully, a kind young woman tells her companion to relinquish the only cot in the cell for Corrie to sleep on. Lying on this filthy straw, Corrie worries about the people in the hiding place, and her family members in prison. A woman teaches Corrie solitaire to pass time, using toilet paper as cards. However, this game introduces a new temptation: Corrie connects the success or failure of the game with outside events. Rather than giving into these kind of omens, Corrie stops playing.

For two weeks, Corrie lies in the cot, feverish and coughing up blood, until the matron tells her to follow her. Corrie is taken outside, admiring the sky for the first time in weeks and remembering her mother’s love of the sky. She is taken to a doctor’s office with a consumptive woman and an unconscious man. Although the nurse treats Corrie with outward contempt, once they are in the bathroom, she offers aid. Corrie asks for a Bible, soap needle, thread, and a toothbrush, although these are difficult requests. The doctor says she is pre-tubercular, adding in a hushed tone that he hopes this diagnosis will help her.

Once back in the cell, Corrie unwraps the small package from the nurse, which includes prewar soap, safety pins, and the four gospels. Although her group gladly shares in the soap and pins, they refuse to take any of the gospels. Possession of a Bible is one of many ways kalte kost, which reduces prisoner’s rations to one meal of bread a day. Two nights later guards take Corrie to solitary confinement, where she is prey to her own thoughts and anxieties about her situation. Her new cell contains a cot with bitter cold, rotting straw and a putrid blanket, leaving Corrie to wonder what she did to be separated from the others. During this time, Corrie’s fever worsens, so workers carry food to her and administer a stinging medicine for a week. When she asks the prison-workers if they have news of her family, she is threatened with kalte kost. At the end of the week, an inaccurate thermometer shows that Corrie has no fever and she stops receiving even the sparse care. The guards ridicule her for lying on the cot all day, calling her lazy.

In prison, thoughts are the greatest problem, including anxiety for her friends and family, regret at leaving her prison bag and fear for the future. She decides that she would leave her prison bag again if it meant protecting the people in the hiding place. One highlight is the window, whose iron bars do not prevent Corrie from enjoying a bit of blue sky. With the coming of spring and sunlight, Corrie regains her health. When her eyesight regains strength, she begins reading the gospels hungrily. She admires the “magnificent drama of salvation,” which applies even to her dark situation alone in prison. She realizes that Jesus had been defeated in a similar manner, but his defeat ended in victory. Corrie takes comfort from this knowledge, however victory is difficult to envision in her little cell. She makes a knife from a corset stay by rubbing it against the cement and uses this tool to scratch a calendar on the wall with special dates like her arrest, transport and birthday. On April 15th, 1944, Corrie attempts to sing a birthday song, only to be told to be quiet. Two pleasant occurrences include her first shower and the visit of an ant, whose delicate features are marvelous to Corrie.

While the guards celebrate Hitler’s birthday, the Scheveningen prisoners take the opportunity to get information by passing it down line. Corrie learns Betsie’s cell number and of the release of Nollie, Peter, Pickwick, Willem, and Toos, In addition, rumors of revolution in Germany, and an Ally invasion spread. Betsie sends the message that God is good, although Corrie has yet to hear of her father. One week later, a package from Nollie arrives, containing a light blue sweater, cookies, vitamins, needle, thread, and a bright red towel. More importantly Corrie receives a secret message under the stamp, telling her “all watches in your closet are safe,” meaning that the Jews escaped the Beje. Corrie begins to sob with relief, until a guard orders her to be silent. The next day, a lieutenant comes to ask her questions about her involvement in the underground. The anonymous “Mr. Smit” proves convenient in this situation. The lieutenant kindly hopes that Corrie will be well enough for her hearing soon.

On May 3rd, while Corrie is embroidering designs on her pajamas, she receives a letter from Nollie. She learns that Father died after ten days in prison, although family does not know where he is buried. Distraught, Corrie calls on a worker who is apathetic, offering a sedative. Corrie asks God to forgive her for asking for human help instead of his. Corrie scratches a new date in the wall, March 9th, 1944 – Father released.


In Chapter Ten, Corrie describes two German prison settings, including Gestapo headquarters in The Hague and a seaside penitentiary called Scheveningen. The images are of gray concrete walls and Nazi brutality against helpless prisoners. Although Corrie spends most of this period in a cold prison cell, she sees the blue sky and sunlight occasionally. Such sightings of beauty help sustain Corrie through the frustrating four-month imprisonment in Scheveningen.

In contrast to the gray bleakness of prison and cruelty of the Nazi guards stands Father’s courage and magnanimity. When Father tells the German officer that he would risk his freedom again by opening his door to anyone in need, he exhibits a generous and kind heart. Unlike her father, Corrie struggles with the burden of empathy. She desires to be free of the knowledge of others’ suffering, like the Jewish man being beaten in The Hague. Corrie continues to grapple with the issue of self-preservation versus selfless love. Later in Ravensbruck, Corrie overcomes personal pain in order to act with the same selfless attitude as her father.

On the journey to Scheveningen, Corrie and the Beje group experience bumpy, bombed-out roads. The poor quality of the roads is indicative of state of Holland, which has been devastated by the war. It seems that the ten Booms enjoyed an unusual tranquility in Haarlem, unlike other major cities in the country. Although Corrie does not attribute the protection of Haarlem from air raids to God’s provision, it is not hard to see fate at work. However, Corrie and her family are caught now. They paid the price for taking advantage of their limited freedom in Haarlem.

The mood, therefore, is fraught with anxiety and tension during the Beje group’s journey to Scheveningen. Although the prison eventually releases most of the group, they experience the consequences of rebelling against the Third Reich. As time passes, the mood continues to be bleak. However, this chapter provides falling action after the climax of the raid on the Beje. Corrie has time to think now, although she wishes that she could stop thinking. The boredom of prison worsens with the terrible uncertainty, which accompanies it. Moreover, the prison matrons make Corrie feel like an animal rather than a human being. The rules and regulations wear down Corrie mentally and emotionally, although she attempts to counteract this process with various activities.

In prison, Corrie begins to experience the difference between fate and luck. Previously, fate guided her actions in the Underground operations. At Scheveningen, Corrie tries her hand at Solitaire and uses her success and failure to determine omens for the real world. However, Corrie does not fall into the temptation of good and bad luck, which is a mental danger in prison. She stops playing the game in order to understand reality more clearly. Instead, Corrie begins to reflect on the recent events. Marking the passage of time becomes very important to her. In fact, the theme of time is essential for this chapter. Keeping track of the passing days implies that the individual has a reason to measure time. Corrie desperately seeks her purpose and meaning in Scheveningen, by cherishing her Bible and watching the beautiful intricacies of the ants in her cell. Corrie feels relieved to learn that the people in the hiding place escaped, making her Beje operation generally a success.