The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Summary and Analysis of Chapter 7: Eusie


As soon as Peter returns home from prison he faces a new danger: soldiers are seizing males between sixteen and thirty to work in German munitions factories. In readiness for such a seizure, called the razzia, Nollie and Flip build a hiding place under the kitchen table. During Flip’s birthday celebration, the razzia forces two of the boys, Peter and older brother Bob, to hide. When two soldiers question the van Woerden’s daughter Cocky if she has brothers, she tells the truth because she has been taught to do so her whole life. She tells him that she has three brothers who are twenty-one, nineteen and eighteen. When he asks her where they are Cocky tells the truth, that they are under the table. Luckily her hysterical laughter leads the soldier to believe she is making fun of him and he does not check. Later the family is divided as to whether Cocky did right in telling the truth. Nollie says God honors truth-telling. However, Corrie points out that telling lies and doing lies, like false-papers and stolen ration cards are the same thing. She worries about the lies she has told during this war, but her father tells her that he knows she spoke in love. Corrie reflects that showing truth and love at the same time proved difficult in this world, but realizes the God showed truth and love in Christ’s dying on the cross.

As hiding Jews grows steadily more dangerous, Corrie receives Harry and Cato de Vries at her doorstep. They fear that the pronouncement of their store is confiscated means that they will soon be arrested. Harry and Cato hide in Mrs. De Boer’s home four blocks from the Beje with eighteen other young Jews who are struggling to keep calm and quiet amid the growing frenzy of fear. There are other dangers that winter with conditions of bitter cold and little fuel, which claim Christoffels’ life.

On April 22nd of that year, Cato enters the Beje and bursts into tears. The young Jewish people staying at Mrs. De Boers left the house without attempting to disguise themselves. Questioning by these young people, the Gestapo learn of the other members in the house. Harry is taken to prison, while non-Jewish Cato is set free. A few days later, the policeman who came during Fred Koornstra’s first ration delivery comes to the shop with a broken watch. The policeman, Rolf van Vliet, reveals to Corrie that Harry will be taken to Amsterdam and his wife can see him if she comes to the station at 3:00. The next day, Corrie and Cato arrive at the station to say goodbye to Harry. Harry tells them that he will use where he is being taken as a witness stand for Christ and the women promise to pray for him.

Taking a chance, Corrie visits Rolf van Vliet and asks him how she can repay his kindness the other day. He replies that the cleaning woman at the jail has a son who needs a hiding place from the razzia. Corrie meets with the boy’s mother, Mietje, and arranges for his passage to safety, for which Mietje promises to repay her. Meanwhile, the work continues with the aid of an illegal telephone line, although messages are still coded in watch shop jargon. In June, Corrie reflects that they need more ration cards as she receives a mother, her baby and a hospital intern. The next day a clergyman friend visits and Corrie asks him to take the baby. He refuses, citing the danger he would face for a Jewish child. Father enters the room and says that that would be the greatest honor his family could receive. Unfortunately, the secondary escape plan fails when the mother begins shrieking during a Gestapo raid.

At the Beje, the family develops the telephone code, including questions for finding a spot using irregular contacts, people who die in the house, and for Jews with features that make them difficult and dangerous to place. One evening, such a gentlemen arrives, a slender thirty-year old man named Meyer Mossel. He is courteous and charming, asking Corrie if he may smoke in the house. He gets along very well with Father, with whom he jovially debates about theology. Meyer jests about the One Hundredth and Sixty-sixth psalm, which begin with the same line, although Father is puzzled because Psalms end at chapter 150. Upon father’s request, Meyer half reads and half sings the evening scripture, as he had been the cantor at a synagogue in Amsterdam. The family also learns that Meyer lost most of his family, although his wife and child are hiding in northern Holland. The family realizes that Meyer will be in the Beje permanently because of his features and they give him the name, Eusebius “Eusie” Smit. Eusie struggles to eat the non-kosher food that Betsie works so hard to find, but eventually he realizes that he has little choice. In a week, the Beje has three new permanent additions: Jop, the apprentice who fears the razzia, Henk, a young lawyer and Leendert, a teacher.

Corrie continues to make her nightly bicycle trips to Pickwick’s house, where she learns that they need a warning system for raids. Leendert installs an electric warning system in the Beje and the household will run drills. Mr. Smit arrives for a trial drill and points out all of the mistakes, which could reveal that more than three people live there. The household becomes quicker at this routine, eventually reaching a record of two minutes. The oldest resident, seventy-six year old Mary Itallie, suffers from asthma and increases the danger of hiding for everyone. Everyone take a vote and rules that Mary should stay despite the danger. The nine permanent residents - Father, Betsie, Corrie, Jop, Henk, Eusie, Leendart, Mary, Meta and Thea - enjoy a good quality of life, due to Betsie’s careful direction. In the evenings, they rig up a bicycle, which generates light from peddling, and Eusie gives Hebrew lessons, or they read Shakespeare aloud, or sing together.


Although Peter’s release from prison provides the family with a reason to rejoice, the on-going seizure of young men introduces new terrors for the ten Booms. Corrie remains remarkably calm, although tensions are clearly heightening by this time. The razzia, or sudden capture of youths for German munitions factories, serves to generally symbolize the uncertainty and fear of the war years. Even though Holland is not a war zone, its citizens face the perils of the age.

As everyone in the family grows more anxious, new arguments begin between its members. The war introduces divisions on the matter of Christianity during exceptional circumstances. For example, Corrie questions the possibility of speaking the truth in love when lives are at stake. She wonders if lying is morally wrong if it provides a means for saving human beings. Nollie will debate with Corrie about the necessity of telling the truth for practicing Christians later in the biography. In fact, this issue extends the work more broadly, when Corrie repeatedly faces moral and ethical dilemmas.

The family faces other difficulties, including the problem of knowing whom to trust in Haarlem. Even the pastor will not risk his life to help them. However, many people will risk everything to save lives, including Rolf van Vliet, the policeman. Once again, Corrie trusts the hand of fate, which seems to guide her well.

When the Gestapo takes away Corrie’s good friend, Mr. de Vries, Corrie feels the growing emotional burden of the Beje operation. However, she learns another lesson through this tragedy. Individuals can share messages of truth and hope through their suffering. Harry de Vries plans to share the Christian gospel with people during the ordeal he knows is coming. The parallelism between the Jews during WWII and Jesus Christ on the cross becomes apparent in this scenario. Persecution on account of religion places Harry and the other Jewish individuals in the position of martyr. However, the religion and ethnic persecution during the Holocaust occurred on a scale unseen before.

The introduction of permanent residents to the Beje establishes the house more firmly as a hiding place. The Beje provides protection for Jewish individuals who have nowhere to flee. The most notable addition to the household is Meyer Mossel, or Eusie. Eusie symbolizes the height of Jewish culture and tradition, as the former canter of a large synagogue. He stands in sharp contrast to the brute mentality of the German soldiers who maraud in the streets of Haarlem. Additionally, Eusie represents one of the costs of the Jewish genocide. The ten Booms already house the Judaic theology tomes, which the Haarlem Rabbi left with them for safety. The war threatens the loss of knowledge of Jewish tradition and culture, along with the individuals who possess these treasures. Therefore, the Beje literary and musical evenings grow all the more meaningful to Corrie and the Jews who are living there.