The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Why do Corrie ten Boom and the Sherrills choose to include so many anecdotes about Corrie’s childhood and life before the war? What does the narrative gain from this information?

    Corrie and the Sherrills include so many childhood anecdotes in order to give a sense of Corrie’s personality and background. She is very much an ordinary person who does extraordinary things in terrible circumstances. In addition, she uses many childhood lessons later to survive during her time in prison and concentration camp. The narrative gains richness and depth because of the information about Corrie’s early life.

  2. 2

    Explain the ways the title, “The Hiding Place,” applies to the biography as a whole.

    The title refers to the physical hiding place in Corrie’s bedroom in the Beje and the verse Psalm 119:114, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” The dual derivation guides the biography because Corrie narrates both her external and internal experience. She makes the physical hiding place a reality with the help of Mr. Smit and many people benefit from that cupboard in the wall. However, she spends much energy describing her emotional hiding place in the comfort of her belief in Jesus Christ.

  3. 3

    What does Lieutenant Rahms mean when he says that he is in a prison greater than Scheveningen?

    German officers had little power to change protocol during WWII. Certainly, they could not openly rebel against the ideology of Hitler. Lieutenant Rahms realizes that his actions with the Nazis place him in a kind of prison, which separates him from the rest of humanity. He is trapped by the same regime, which forces him to follow its policy.

  4. 4

    Why does Otto Altschuler treat Father well and Christoffels so badly when they are working at the watch shop? What is made clear by this distinction?

    Otto grew up in Germany under the National Socialist ideology in the Hitler Youth program, where he learned to respect power, and disdain weakness, old age and mental handicaps. Because Father was Otto’s employer, Otto had to show him respect he did not feel. Christoffels was elderly and not in authority over Otto, who treated him badly to show his contempt for the weak. The family learns that Hitler is not simply a German problem, rather this ideology has entered Holland, too.

  5. 5

    Mama tells Corrie that happiness comes from one’s attitude rather than external circumstances. Explain how Corrie uses this lesson during the war.

    Throughout most of the narrative, Corrie suffers through difficult and dangerous situations. She goes through solitary confinement, lack of proper food, rest and hygiene. Although Corrie’s sister Betsie and Father lose their lives because of the cruel Nazi regime, Corrie finds internal reasons to be joyful. She uses her mother’s lesson to be happy in spite of the circumstances.

  6. 6

    How is Corrie similar to or different from her sister Betsie? How does her personality make her a better storyteller than Betsie might have been?

    In contrast to elegant Betsie, Corrie is impatient, unfashionable, and ungraceful. Spirited and persistent, Corrie acknowledges the negative side of situations, which leave her frustrated and angry. Corrie may be a better storyteller because she is more human and less saintlike than Betsie, whose ceaseless patience leads her to extreme optimism. Corrie is more relatable as a narrator because she is honest about her faults, sharing her darkest moments in the narrative.

  7. 7

    What are some possible reasons why Corrie ten Boom wrote her biography, “The Hiding Place?”

    Betsie tells Corrie that they must share their experience of peace and joy during a time of suffering and despair after the war ends. At Ravensbruck, Corrie and Betsie speak of teaching people how to love rather than to hate. Moreover, Corrie believes that her memories affect the future more than they do the past and hopes that people will learn from her.

  8. 8

    What measures are taken at the Beje to make it as safe as possible for the Jews staying there? Does the Beje the house become another character in a way?

    The house is one room wide and two uneven rooms front to back, making the house perfect for the hiding place in Corrie’s bedroom. Additionally, an electric warning system and drills make the house safer. It almost seems that the house is a living character with personality and impulses to protect its inhabitants. However, Corrie no longer feels at home in the Beje after her loved ones are deceased. It might be the people in the house, rather than the Beje itself, which makes it a warm, vivacious place.

  9. 9

    In Ravensbruck, Betsie has several ideas about what they will do after the war. What are the ways in which Corrie fulfills the visions of her sister, Betsie?

    According to Betsie’s wishes, Corrie shares her story after the war with people in Haarlem and around the world. Moreover, Corrie organizes a rehabilitation center at Bloemendaal for people damaged by the Holocaust. She donates the Beje to former NSBers who cannot find homes elsewhere. Lastly, Corrie organizes a center for homeless Germans in a former concentration camp, Darmstadt, and paints the barracks green as Betsie dreamed.

  10. 10

    Why does Corrie need to forgive the man in Munich who was a former guard at Ravensbruck? What does she believe gives her the power to do so?

    Corrie is a deeply committed Christian, but even she struggles to follow the precepts of her faith. Eventually, Corrie acknowledges that healing for Europe and her personally will come from forgiveness of wrongdoing. She believes that love and the power to forgive comes from God.