The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Summary and Analysis of Chapter 5: Invasion


As the war between England, France and Germany wages, the ten Booms wait in tense anticipation to learn if Holland will join or remain neutral. When the Prime Minister announces over the evening radio that Holland will remain neutral, Father angrily turns off the set. He believes that giving people false hope is wrong, but his anger quickly turns to his normal gentleness. Father ten Boom believes that even though Holland may be beaten, God never can be. Five hours later that night, the family awakens to the sound of explosions and huddle together, praying for Holland, the injured that night and for the Queen. Betsie even prays for the Germans flying in the planes above their heads, because they are caught up in a terrible evil. When Corrie has a vision that she, Betsie, her father, Pickwick, Toos, Willem and Peter are being taken away in an old wagon, Betsie tells her that God sometimes shows people the future to tell them that he is still holds control.

For five days, Holland fights against the invading German forces, while the townspeople gather around the Beje for prayer and comfort during this fraught time. There is an unusual surge of community feeling as people follow the radio’s instructions to board up windows. A few nights later, the family learns that the queen has left Holland and in the morning everyone enters the streets to discuss this unwelcome news. When they learn that Holland has surrendered, father comforts a distraught teenager who insists that he never would have given up. Father ten Boom tells him that that is good because Holland has a battle in front of it.

The first few months of occupation brings uncomfortable but not unbearable change. The presence of German troops unsettles the family, as does the tone of superiority, which soldiers take when they come to buy watches. The shop does well in the first year of war with all the commotion of soldiers and no new merchandise. Additional measures include the introduction of a 10:00 P.M. curfew, identity cards which had to be shown at any time, and the ration system. Newspapers cease to relay real news, giving glowing reports of German victory and denunciations of political opposition. Although the Germans demand seizure of all radios, the family keeps the old radio and turns in the portable one. Corrie feels bad for lying, but knows that the true reports, although disheartening, are necessary to hear. Although using the airport as a base for offensive air raids against England, German fighters occasionally face English retaliation over Haarlem. During such a raid, Corrie hears Betsie stirring in the kitchen and joins her. When she returns to her room, Corrie is shocked to find shrapnel in her bed and runs to Betsie who tells her that God was protecting her.

As the occupation becomes more militant, the ten Booms are ashamed that so many Dutchmen willingly participate in the worsening anti-Semitism. The National Socialist Bond is a growing quisling organization, or one that collaborates with the occupying enemy force. The NSB provides incentives to join including more food, clothing and good jobs and housing, although many join out of conviction. Increasing discrimination against Jews includes exclusion from restaurants and other businesses and the burning of a synagogue. Families, like the Kan’s from the competing watch shop, simply disappear. As Corrie and her father continue their daily walks, they are startled to see so many people wearing yellow stars of David, the identification marks imposed by Germans. When in November 1941 Germans vandalize ten Boom’s neighbors’ store, Weil’s Furriers, the family takes action by sheltering Mr. Weil in their home. They need to warn his wife who is visiting a sister in Amsterdam not to come home. However, because private telephones are disconnected and public are bugged, the ten Booms call upon Willem for aid. Willem and Tine’s son twenty-two-year-old son Kik escorts Mr. Weil to safety. This is the beginning of Corrie’s work in the Dutch underground, which worries her because of the stories she has heard about methods in the underground, which include violence, destruction and lies, all sins according to Christian teaching. She wonders how a Christian should act when evil is in power.

A month later, Corrie and father come across the man nicknamed the Bulldog, wearing a yellow star and strangely without his beloved dogs. Worried about the meaning of this absence, Corrie, Betsie and father decide to visit the Bulldog man to help him if they can. At the Bulldog’s house, the three learn that his name is Harry de Vries and ask him about his pets. In tears, Harry tells them that he poisoned them because he is a Jew and could be taken at any time. Although Harry has converted to Christianity and his wife Cato is a Christian, he has no protection against the Nazis. To comfort this grieving man, Father asks if he and his daughter can be his walking companion instead. Harry wants to avoid this danger for the ten Booms and agrees to visit the Beje after dark, of course. He and his wife become nightly visitors, enjoying lively discussions with Casper ten Boom about the Jewish theological texts, which were left by the rabbi of Haarlem before he disappeared.

In the spring of 1942, as arrests become more frequent, Corrie begins taking deliveries to their Jewish customers. On such a visit, she meets an old Dutch family, the Heemstras. As Dr. Heemstra tucks in his children, Corrie is struck by the reality that this family could be taken away by soldiers at any moment. Immediately, Corrie utters a prayer, in which she offers herself to the service to God’s chosen people, however, whenever and wherever. As she prays, Corries sees the vision of her family being taken away in the ominous wagon without any idea where they are going.


Corrie begins chapter six in a tense tone, as she and her family await the announcement of war. Therefore, it is an anticlimax when the Prime Minister announces that Holland will remain neutral. This anticlimax shifts dramatically later than night when Corrie and Betsie hear the telling sounds of explosions. Corrie repeats the pattern of rising and falling action later, when she describes the initial ease of the occupation for non-Jewish Dutch citizens, which grows harsher over the next months. The climaxes and anticlimaxes leave Corrie feeling emotionally exhausted. Finally, Corrie escapes the vicissitudes of the German Occupation, by beginning a personal war against Nazism.

In order to establish the atmosphere of the occupied Holland, Corrie relates the measures taken by the German army. The list continues to grow, building a kind of prison around the residents of Haarlem. By increments, Holland loses its freedom. Corrie’s narrative style records changes like the hour of curfew, conveying a sense of strangulation. As Nazi power strengthens in Holland, Corrie feels the need for action.

In addition to the harshening occupation, Corrie gains new point-of-view, which leads to her Underground involvement. She meets several Jewish individuals, including Harry de Vries and the Heemstras, whose misfortunes make Hitler’s anti-Semitism very real to Corrie. Although Father always respected the Jews as God’s chosen people, Corrie gains an appreciation for the deep religious devotion of her new friends. Knowing Jewish individuals leads Corrie to realize the growing danger for Jews in Haarlem, whose lives hang by a thread.

The mood continues to darken during the war years. Although Corrie and Betsie experience the military side of WWII infrequently, they feel the force of the war in Haarlem. With the exception of the shrapnel episode, Corrie experiences war by the growing self-interest of her neighbors and the cruelty to her new Jewish friends. The Nationalist Socialist Bond members show the ten Booms the painful effects of individuals betraying their country. Corrie narrates the early war years in an episodic manner, which encapsulates the key events for the ten Boom family.

Through Corrie’s experience, she sees how God intervenes for his purposes. Fate plays a large role in Corrie’s life, by guiding her decisions according to the plan for Corrie’s life. Fate displays its power in seemingly small measures. For instance, Corrie’s trip to the kitchen for a cup of coffee during an air raid saves her life. According to Corrie, God saves her life for a greater purpose, which becomes clear by the end of the chapter. Corrie realizes that her purpose during the war is to help Jews escape extermination by the German forces.