The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Summary and Analysis of Chapter 15: The Three Visions


Over the days following Betsie’s death, Corrie takes comfort in telling the women who knew and loved Betsie about her sister’s peace and joy. During the trials of roll call and bitter cold, Corrie feels thankful that Betsie is free now. When the loud speaker calls “Cornelia ten Boom,” Corrie feels strange to hear her name rather than a number. In the administration barracks that morning, Corrie receives a certificate of discharge and a railway pass from the German to the Dutch border. With freedom so close at hand, the shame of stripping for another medical inspection leaves Corrie frustrated. The young doctor declares that she has edema, which causes swelling the legs. Corrie makes her way to the hospital to wait until the edema clears when she will be released. The hospital holds miserable women from a bombed train. Amid the horrible sounds and smells, Corrie would like to feel stony indifference to the suffering around her. Although four women die that night, Corrie tries to think only of her own need. However, she cannot shut out sounds and eventually comes to the aid of women who are screaming for bedpans. The women’s gratitude is heart wrenching and they ask Corrie who she is and why she is helping. In reply, Corrie reflects that today is Christmas, a day for giving and receiving.

The days are marked by Corrie’s medical inspections, in which she continues to hear the verdict of edema. While waiting in the line, Corrie thinks of God’s perfect timing and the hiding place of his will. With this in mind, Corrie gives her Bible to a woman from Utrecht. On the sixth night two gypsies who are isolated from the group take the bedpans. When Corrie goes to plead with for them, one woman flings her gangrenous foot at her. After crying and washing herself, Corrie returns to the women who throw the bedpans to her. On the next day, Corrie receives medical approval, normal clothes, a day’s bread ration, two food coupons, her watch, money and mama’s ring. Lastly, Corrie must sign a sheet saying that treatment at Ravensbruck had been good.

On the train to Berlin, Corrie suffers from the feeling of unreality as well as hunger. She lost her bread and food coupons hours earlier, before taking a mail train to Berlin. At midnight on January 1st, 1945, Corrie reaches the bombed out station. A kind man who speaks Dutch helps Corrie walk through the station, but most people are not friendly. When Corrie presents guilders to a café worker, the shrill woman threatens to call the police. After an endless trip through war torn Germany, Corrie reaches Holland. Although there are German soldiers in the streets, Corrie is home.

Once Corrie reaches Groningen, she limps to the hospital, where a kind nurse gives her plain bread and tea. Corrie is told that she has malnutrition and must be careful what she eats. This humane treatment brings tears to Corrie’s eyes. Corrie remains in the hospital for ten days, receiving good meals and hot baths. She feels shocked by silverware and other elements of civilized society. Although the nurses are friendly and kind, Corrie does not feel like talking. Instead, she aches to see Willem, Nollie and her home in Haarlem. The hospital arranges illegal transportation for Corrie to get to Willem’s nursing home.

When Corrie arrives in Hilversum, she is greeted by Tine, her nieces and Willem, barely manages to walk with a cane. They embrace for a long time, sharing news of about Betsie’s death. During Corrie’s two-week stay in Hilversum, she sees that Willem is dying. He still manages to comfort and counsel the more than fifty sick people in his care. There are many young girls working in the home, who are young men and boys hiding from labor conscription. Finally, Corrie feels the urge to return to Haarlem and Nollie too strongly. Willem arranges transportation for Corrie during the travel ban. In the car to Haarlem, Corrie reunites with Herman Sluring. Pickwick tells her that the Beje network still operates, although homeless families live in the house now. He also tells her that Toos reopened the watch business and has been faithfully maintaining the store.

Once in Haarlem, Corrie spends time with Nollie and her the rest of her family. Although the routine of Corrie’s life begins again, she feels that she is not home, but waiting. She learns that a neighbor took in her cat, although he disappeared a few months ago. The loss of Corrie’s cat marks the greater absence in the Beje of people. Soon a group of mentally handicapped people have moved into the Beje in order to hide from a government who deems that unfit to live. However, Corrie still feels that the Beje is a house rather than a home without Father and Betsie.

In order to fill the emptiness of her life, Corrie agrees to help the underground again, by carrying release papers to the Haarlem prison. There Corrie sees Rolf van Vliet who treats her coldly. She does not react well, asking him if he remembers her. However, Corrie forgot that there were German soldiers all around and giving away a personal connection could endanger both of them. Rolf tells her to return the next afternoon. Corrie leaves the station, fully believing that she has no cleverness and boldness on her own. She realizes that these were gifts from God and their current absence means that Corrie should not be in the underground any longer.

Corrie realizes how much she misses her sister Betsie and remembers their plans for sharing what they had learned. Corrie begins telling neighbors and strangers alike about her experience in that cheerless spring of 1945. Corrie brings a message of joy to a town struck by tragedy and misfortune. At a town meeting, Corrie sees the first vision of Betsie’s home for those hurt to live again. Afterwards, an aristocratic lady, Mrs. Bierens de Haan, approaches Corrie and asks about the Beje. Mrs. Bierens de Haan’s mother knew Corrie’s aunt and is a widow with five sons in the resistance. Mrs. Bierens de Haan tells Corrie that something is telling to donate her beautiful manor home in suburbs if her youngest son Jan returns home safely. Two weeks later, Jan returns and Mrs. Bierens de Haan donate the fifty-six-room mansion to Corrie’s cause. Just as Betsie envisioned there are gardens where the former prisoners can recover from the trauma they suffered. When in the second week of May the Allies take Holland, hundreds arrive at Bloemendaal, the estate for Betsie’s rehabilitation center. The Dutch flag returns to shop windows and people belt out the Wilhelmus proudly. Amid all the excitement of the war ending, Corrie realizes that the key to healing will be forgiveness.

The second vision includes turning the Beje into a home for former National Socialist Bond members. Since the end of the war, former NSBers have been evicted and fired from their jobs. Eventually people begin to heal. Corrie sees less anger on the part of the Bloemendaal residents towards former NSBers. In order to raise funds for her projects, Corrie goes on speaking tours in Holland, Europe and America. At a church in Germany, filled with great devastation, Corrie sees a former SS agent who stood guard at the shower rooms in Ravensbruck. After the speech, he approaches Corrie and tells her that he has become a Christian. She struggles to shake his hand, but feels at peace when she forgives him. She realizes that God not only gives the command to love, he gives the love as well. In order to share this love, Corrie decides to found a rehabilitation center for Germans who are homeless and damaged by the war. Someone suggests a former concentration camp, called Darmstadt. One a tour of the grounds, Corrie sees barbed wire and depressing concrete. However, Betsie’s vision for such a place reappears in Corrie’s memory and she tells her helps to add window boxes and to paint the dormitories green like the color of spring plants. In this way, Corrie completes the visions of which her sister Betsie dreamt.


This theme of chapter fifteen is release, recovery and renewal. Upon Corrie’s release from Ravensbruck, she must adjust to civilization before beginning a new life. The tone of the last chapter transitions into several stages: first Corrie feels frustration, while she awaits medical approval; then she feels confusion and unreality, while she journeys home; finally, she overcomes listless depression with a spirit of renewal and purpose, after the war. The mood of the narrative echoes the shifting tones, which change as Corrie’s situation does.

First, Corrie experiences the frustration of waiting for medical approval from the Ravensbruck doctors. Additionally, Corrie suffers the indignity of being forced to sign a form that says treatment at Ravensbruck was satisfactory. Although the bureaucracy creates difficulties for Corrie, on occasion its inefficiency works to Corrie’s advantage. Corrie’s stay in hospital easily could have been annoying and mentally torturous. However, her forced stay in the sickbay provides the opportunity to help women in pain. Corrie sees destiny at work again, when she is released because of a clerical error. Corrie believes that God works a greater purpose through human faults and failures.

Although Corrie exits Ravensbruck in a daze of unreality, she is grateful to be free. During Corrie’s trip back to Holland, she witnesses the devastation of the war upon the landscape of Germany. She sees bombed cities and railroads, which reveal how destructive the war was. More than physical wreckage, the war left many people in Germany psychologically damaged. Corrie experiences the lack of generosity, which war-hardened people display, when the train station worker treats Corrie badly. Corrie also feels the cost of the war personally and in her family. She suffers from malnutrition, which affected soldiers and civilians alike. Additionally, Willem’s spinal tuberculosis, which later claims his life, vividly illustrates to Corrie the pain of war. Every family in Haarlem and the world more broadly experiences this kind of loss.

Corrie experiences the symbolic power of home when she returns to the Beje. Home implies safety, warmth and care. However, the concept of home loses its significance for Corrie without the people who lived in the Beje. It seems that the Beje undergoes a transformation during the ten Boom’s absence, which takes its vitality and personality. Corrie also feels the loss of loved ones keenly as she struggles to adjust to the outside world. Corrie and many others suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which makes normal civilization strange after life-threatening situations, cruelty and long-endured horrible conditions.

Corrie speaks with a tone of listless despondency, which testifies to the emptiness of her life after the war. Finally, Corrie’s decision to begin realizing Betsie’s visions with a rehabilitation center imbues her life with purpose and activity again. President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood that the need for rehabilitation after the war would be great. The medical branch of rehabilitation for psychologically damaged soldiers and civilians was just gaining strength at that time. Corrie sees the damage in Germany, where the emotional landscape is bleak and bitter. Corrie uses a simile to compare the German people’s minds and hearts to ash. Instead, Corrie advocates healing and forgiveness, which are symbolized by gardens and the color green. The numeric significance of Betsie’s three visions resonates with the Christian faith because of the Trinity and Christ’s burial, which lasted three days before his resurrection. Corrie focuses on the theme of renewal and rebirth, which she believes will heal war-torn Europe.