The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Summary and Analysis of Chapter 11: The Lieutenant


On a chill day in May, after three months in prison, Corrie is marched outside to her hearing. Upon seeing that the last hut has dried up tulips beside it, Corrie prays to get Hut Four for her trial. As she walks into this hut, she prays for guidance, adding that Christ also went on trial. Her officer is gentle-mannered man who visited her before, named Lieutenant Rahms. His kindness and courtesy puts Corrie on her guard, asking God that she would not be trapped into giving information. After Corrie asks about the tulips, Rahms tells her that he wants to help but she cannot conceal anything. Corrie realizes that all the friendliness was a ploy for information. After an hour of questioning, which Corrie feels well prepared for, Rahms realizes that she is largely ignorant of underground names. The Gestapo had been working under the assumption that the Beje was headquarters for food raids all over Holland, which is something Corrie knows little about.

When Lieutenant Rahms asks about Corrie’s other activities, she replies that she had a sort of church for mentally handicapped children. With raised eyebrows, Rahms comments that that sounds like a waste of time. Moreover, Rahms believes that one normal convert would be worth all the “half-wits” in the world. Corrie takes a risk and tells him that God sees people differently, valuing them not for strength or brains but because he made them. She tells him that God’s view is so different, that he provides a book for people to understand it.

The next morning, Rahms escorts Corrie outside of the hut so she can get sunlight. He tells her that he could not sleep for thinking about this book with such different ideas and asks what else it says. Corrie replies that the book tells of light coming into a dark world, provide a means to escape darkness. When she asks him if there is darkness in his life, he replies that she cannot understand anything about darkness. He cannot bear his work in the prison and he fears for the lives of his wife and children in Germany. Corrie tells him that Jesus Christ is the light she spoke of, which can shine in even in Rahms’ darkness.

For two more mornings the hearings continue without the previous formalities. Instead, Rahms asks about Father, the Beje, and Corrie’s childhood. When Corrie asks why she was placed in solitary confinement, he replies that she was contagious to the other prisoners. It was not punishment, although Corrie got that sense. During this talk, Corrie begs to see her sister. He tells her that he has no real authority. At the fourth and final hearing, Rahms explains that he struggles to understand why God would let Christians like her father suffer so needlessly. There is much Corrie does not understand, thinking about her father’s train case, which is like knowledge that is too heavy for us, while Rahms is out of the hut. Unfortunately, she must return to her cell before she can tell him. Corrie feels regret having to say goodbye to a man seeking truth so desperately. Lastly, Rahms tells her to walk slowly in a certain corridor where she sees the back of Betsie’s head. Corrie also sees that Betsie has made her cell beautiful, almost a home. This comforts Corrie somehow to know that Betsie is making Scheveningen a little brighter.

Changes come to the prison, in the form of a new matron, nicknamed “The General,” who commands with icy silence. On in inspection of Corrie’s cell, The General rips down her decorations, confiscates all contraband and orders showers twice a week and sheets for the cot. Although Corrie does get more than one shower a month, the sheets never come. However, her last gospel remains unnoticed by the nervous worker told to check under the cot.

In the second half of June, Lieutenant Rahms returns, telling Corrie that a notary is at the prison and Dutch law states that family must be present at the reading of a will. She suspects that Rahms invented this rule so that she could see her family. In the courtyard, Corrie lingers in her brother Willem’s embrace and enjoys being called baby sister again after fifty years. In addition, Corrie is delighted to see Nollie, Flip, Tine, and especially Betsie. Betsie appears cheerful although thin and prison pale. However, Willem’s appearance is gaunt and yellow, leaving Corrie shocked. Tine tells Corrie that Willem had jaundice from his cellmates at Scheveningen. Corrie holds tight to her brother and listens to his strong, loving voice. They learn that Kik was taken to a German prison for helping an American parachutist reach the North Sea. Corrie and Betsie also learn that Father became ill and was taken to a hospital in The Hague. He died without being seen by the hospital staff that was at a loss to identity him. Nollie gives Corrie a whole Bible, for which Corrie is feels thankful. She had given away the last gospel the day before. The siblings also share that Rolf van Vliet arranged for the escape of the Jews from the Beje hiding place. All but Mary Itallie, who was arrested walking down a street, reached safety.

After a while, Rahms tells the notary to read the will, which is brief and indicative of the man who wrote it. Father leaves the Beje to Betsie and Corrie who may live there as long as they like. He tells them to share any money because he loved them all equally. Lastly, Father commits his children “with joy to the constant care of God.” In the following silence, Willem begins praying, praising Jesus for these moments together under protection of Lieutenant Rahms. Willem adds that they cannot thank him with any service, but offers a share in their father’s inheritance. Willem asks God to take Lieutenant Rahms and his family into his care.


In chapter eleven, Corrie focuses on her acquaintance with a German officer, named Lieutenant Rahms. Rahms oversees Corrie’s hearing and she explains God’s view of people to him. Corrie structures the chapter into the four-day hearing and a visit with her family that the lieutenant arranges. Her tone remains more positive, especially because Rahms treats Corrie humanely. In the previous months, Corrie misses human interaction and yearns to see faces of people.

Just before Corrie’s hearing, she references Christ who also underwent a trial. The allusion to Christ serves to symbolize Corrie’s status as a martyr who suffers for her faith. When Corrie prays that she will not be gullible during this meeting, she echoes Christ’s appeals to God for strength and deliverance. Fortunately, Corrie remains ignorant of actual names and addresses of Underground workers. Moreover, Kik and the other Beje residents train her well.

One of the key themes in “The Hiding Place” is the value of people despite physical or mental ability. The context of Corrie and the lieutenant’s discussion about mentally handicapped individuals comes from National-Socialist philosophy. This utilitarian philosophy taught Germans and other Europeans that humans are only valuable if they can prove useful to society as a whole. Therefore, people who were elderly, ill, infirm, or mentally handicapped were useless burdens to the state. Fortunately, Corrie shares another message with the lieutenant. She believes that individuals are valuable simply for being humans created by God. The worldviews represented by Corrie and Lieutenant Rahms clash significantly.

During Corrie’s meetings with the lieutenant, she shares the message of the bible. She introduces symbolism of light and dark, which parallels with the message of Jesus Christ and the evil of the world. The symbolism of light and darkness represents hope during dark times like the war. Even within Scheveningen, Lieutenant Rahms stands for a bright spot among the Nazi hierarchy of officials. He is kind and compassionate, despite his National-Socialist training. Rahms gives Corrie hope that other German officials feel the same pang of conscience, which leads him to search for a different way of life.

Chapter eleven concludes on a hopeful note with the reunion of the ten Boom siblings and Willem’s prayer for Lieutenant Rahms. Unlike previous chapters, there is no foreshadowing of future events, just narration of the current situation. Perhaps, Corrie writes this way in order to convey her sense of contentment in spite of tribulations. Willem’s prayer demonstrates, once again, the generosity and warmth of the ten Boom family. Corrie, Betsie, Nollie and Willem are very similar to their Father, who gives them an inheritance of love to share with anyone who needs it.