The Hiding Place

Corrie ten Boom


Welcome to the captivating world of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom! 📚✨ Set against the grim backdrop of World War II, this remarkable book takes us on a journey of faith, resilience, and the unyielding human spirit. Corrie ten Boom, along with her family, became a beacon of hope in the darkest of times, hiding Jewish people from the Nazis in their home in Haarlem, Netherlands.

Born in 1892, Corrie was a Dutch watchmaker who, alongside her father and sister, became involved in the Dutch underground, offering sanctuary to those persecuted by the Nazis. Their home, known as ‘The Beje,’ was transformed into a hiding place, hence the title of the book. This non-fiction work falls into the genre of autobiography and historical narrative, offering a firsthand account of courage and faith amidst horrendous circumstances.

The book not only explores the depths of human cruelty but also illuminates the capacity for compassion and bravery. Corrie ten Boom’s story is not just about the historical events of the Holocaust, but a testament to the strength found in faith and the power of forgiveness. So, let’s dive into the heart of this powerful narrative and uncover the lessons it holds. 🕊️🔍

Plot Summary

The Hiding Place weaves a compelling tale of courage, faith, and resilience, set against the backdrop of World War II. Here’s a breakdown of the main events:

Exposition — The story begins in Haarlem, Netherlands, introducing us to the ten Boom family. Corrie, her sister Betsie, and their father Casper live a peaceful life as watchmakers. Their devout Christian faith shapes their existence and their community relations.

Rising Action — With the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, the ten Boom family faces the moral dilemma of protecting their Jewish neighbors. They decide to act, turning their home into a refuge, a “hiding place” for those persecuted.

Climax — The ten Boom family is betrayed and arrested by the Nazis. Corrie, Betsie, and their father are sent to concentration camps. The narrative reaches its peak as Corrie and Betsie endure the harsh realities of Ravensbrück concentration camp, holding onto their faith and hope in the face of unimaginable suffering.

Falling Action — Despite the brutal conditions, Corrie and Betsie find ways to spread hope and love among their fellow prisoners. They conduct secret Bible readings and offer solace to many. Betsie’s health deteriorates, but her spirit remains unbroken, imparting visions of a future where they can share their message of forgiveness.

Resolution — Betsie passes away, but not before entrusting Corrie with the task of telling their story. Miraculously, Corrie is released from Ravensbrück due to a clerical error. She returns home and embarks on a global mission to share their experiences and the power of forgiveness, fulfilling Betsie’s vision.

Through The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom narrates not just the events of the Holocaust, but a profound spiritual journey. Despite the darkness, the ten Boom family’s story is a luminous testament to the endurance of faith and the transformative power of forgiveness in the human heart.

Character Analysis

In The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom masterfully portrays a cast of characters whose faith, courage, and love leave an indelible mark on the reader. Let’s delve into the main characters:

Corrie ten Boom — The narrator and protagonist, Corrie is a middle-aged woman when the war begins. She evolves from a simple watchmaker to a key figure in the Dutch Resistance and a survivor of Ravensbrück concentration camp. Her journey is one of profound spiritual growth, reflecting themes of faith, resilience, and forgiveness.

Betsie ten Boom — Corrie’s older sister, Betsie is a beacon of hope and faith. Even in the darkest moments, her unwavering belief in God’s plan and her vision for a future of reconciliation inspire those around her. Betsie’s gentle strength and deep compassion highlight her pivotal role in Corrie’s life and in the lives of many others.

Casper ten Boom (Father) — The patriarch of the ten Boom family, Casper’s strong Christian faith and love for all humanity set the moral foundation for his family. His decision to hide Jews in their home is a testament to his unwavering principles. Casper’s character embodies the concept of unconditional love and righteousness.

Willem ten Boom — Corrie and Betsie’s brother, a minister who also participates in the Dutch Resistance. His actions and dedication to helping the persecuted provide a broader context to the ten Boom family’s deep-rooted values of assistance and empathy.

Lieutenant Rahms — A German officer at Ravensbrück who shows moments of compassion towards Corrie. His character serves as a complex figure, indicating that humanity can exist even within the ranks of those perpetuating evil.

Kik ten Boom — Nephew of Corrie and Betsie, involved in the resistance. His youthful energy and commitment to the cause add depth to the ten Boom family’s collective efforts against the Nazi occupation.

Here’s a summary of the character analysis in a table format:

Corrie ten BoomResilient, compassionate, faithfulTo help those in need, to survive the concentration camp, to spread the message of forgivenessGrows from a simple watchmaker to an inspirational figure of faith and forgiveness
Betsie ten BoomGentle, optimistic, deeply faithfulTo see the good in every situation, to spread love and hopeMaintains her faith and love despite suffering, inspiring others
Casper ten BoomKind-hearted, principled, devoutTo do what is right according to his faith, protect the innocentRemains steadfast in his beliefs, even in the face of death
Willem ten BoomCourageous, caring, committedTo fight against injustice, help the persecutedDemonstrates the extent of the family’s commitment to their values
Lieutenant RahmsConflicted, humaneTo perform his duties, shows glimpses of sympathyIllustrates the moral complexities of individuals in wartime
Kik ten BoomEnergetic, braveTo contribute to the resistance, make a differenceEmbodies the spirit of youthful resistance against tyranny

Each character in The Hiding Place contributes to the overarching narrative of resilience against oppression, the power of faith, and the capacity for forgiveness, making this story a timeless testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Themes and Symbols

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is rich with themes and symbols that contribute deeply to the story’s meaning and the reader’s understanding. Here, we explore the major themes and symbols present in the book:


Faith and Providence — The unwavering faith of the ten Boom family, particularly Corrie and Betsie, in God’s plan, even in the face of horrific circumstances, stands as the book’s cornerstone. This faith guides them through their darkest hours and serves as a beacon of hope.

The Power of Forgiveness — Corrie’s journey towards forgiveness, even for the Nazis who caused immense suffering, illustrates the theme of forgiveness as a powerful force for healing and liberation from the chains of hatred.

Resistance Against Evil — The ten Boom family’s active resistance against the Nazi regime showcases the moral obligation to stand up against injustice, regardless of the personal cost.

The Human Spirit’s Resilience — Despite the dehumanizing conditions of the concentration camps, the spirit of the prisoners, especially the ten Boom sisters, shows an incredible capacity for hope, love, and endurance.


The Hiding Place — The physical hiding place in the ten Boom house symbolizes refuge and safety in the midst of peril but also represents the spiritual refuge found in faith.

The Watch — As watchmakers, the ten Boom family’s connection to watches symbolizes the passage of time and the urgency of their mission. It also reflects on the precision and care with which they approach their work of saving lives.

The Raven — Brought to Corrie in the concentration camp, the raven becomes a symbol of God’s provision and the unexpected ways hope can manifest in dire situations.

The Bible — Central to the ten Boom’s life and resistance, the Bible is not just a religious text but a symbol of unshakeable faith and a source of comfort and guidance amidst turmoil.

Through these themes and symbols, The Hiding Place transcends its historical context to offer timeless insights into the nature of human evil, the power of faith, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit.

Style and Tone

The writing style and tone of Corrie ten Boom in The Hiding Place are integral to the impact of the book, shaping the readers’ understanding and emotional connection to the story. Here’s how they contribute to the mood and atmosphere of the narrative:

  • Personal and Intimate — Ten Boom’s first-person narrative invites readers into her inner world, making her experiences, thoughts, and emotions accessible. This intimacy bridges the gap between the historical context and the reader, creating a personal connection with the story.
  • Reflective and Inspirational — Despite the horrors described, the tone remains hopeful and reflective. Ten Boom often ponders the lessons learned through suffering and the power of faith, offering inspiration and solace to readers.
  • Honest and Unflinching — The author does not shy away from describing the brutal realities of life under Nazi occupation and in the concentration camps. This honesty ensures the story’s authenticity and educates readers about the depths of human cruelty and resilience.
  • Evocative and Descriptive — Ten Boom’s detailed descriptions of places, people, and events paint a vivid picture of the era, the emotional landscape of the characters, and the spiritual journey they undergo. These descriptions enhance the narrative’s evocative quality, making historical events resonate with contemporary relevance.
  • Compassionate and Forgiving — The narrative is imbued with a spirit of compassion and forgiveness, reflecting Ten Boom’s personal beliefs and the central themes of the book. This tone encourages readers to consider the power of forgiveness in their own lives.
  • Educational and Informative — While telling her personal story, Ten Boom also educates readers about the broader historical context, the workings of the resistance, and the realities of concentration camp life, providing valuable insights into World War II history.

Through its unique style and tone, The Hiding Place transcends mere historical recounting, offering readers a deep emotional and spiritual exploration of faith, forgiveness, and the human capacity to endure and overcome adversity.

Literary Devices Used in The Hiding Place

Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place employs a variety of literary devices that enrich the narrative, deepen the thematic concerns, and enhance the emotional resonance of the story. Here are the top 10 literary devices used in the book:

  1. Metaphor — Ten Boom frequently uses metaphors to draw parallels between physical realities and spiritual truths, such as comparing the hiding place in their home to the spiritual hiding place found in God’s care.
  2. Imagery — Vivid imagery is used to bring scenes to life, whether describing the dark, cramped conditions of the hiding place or the bleakness of the concentration camp. This device helps readers visualize the historical context and feel the emotional weight of the narrative.
  3. Symbolism — Objects and actions in the book often carry deeper meanings. For example, the watch symbolizes the passing of time and the urgency of the ten Boom family’s mission, while the raven symbolizes hope and providence in the midst of despair.
  4. Irony — There are instances of both situational and dramatic irony. A poignant example is the ironic twist of Corrie’s release from Ravensbrück due to a clerical error, a miraculous escape that highlights the unpredictability of fate and divine intervention.
  5. Foreshadowing — Ten Boom subtly hints at future events, creating a sense of anticipation and tension. Early mentions of the growing unrest in Europe foreshadow the family’s involvement in the resistance and their eventual arrest.
  6. Personification — Inanimate objects and abstract concepts are often given human characteristics, such as describing the watch shop as a witness to history or faith as a guiding light, enhancing the narrative’s emotional depth.
  7. Allusion — The text is rich with allusions, particularly to biblical stories and passages, which reinforce the ten Boom family’s faith and provide a framework for understanding their actions and motivations.
  8. Juxtaposition — Ten Boom contrasts scenes of intense suffering with moments of grace and kindness, highlighting the complexity of human nature and the indomitable spirit of those who resist evil.
  9. Repetition — Key phrases and ideas, such as “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still,” are repeated throughout the narrative, emphasizing the central themes of faith and forgiveness.
  10. Parallelism — The narrative structure often mirrors events, such as the parallel between the physical hiding place for Jews and the spiritual hiding place found in faith, illustrating the interconnection between action and belief.

Each of these literary devices plays a crucial role in weaving the complex tapestry of The Hiding Place, making it not only a historical account but a profound exploration of the human condition.

Literary Device Examples

To further explore how Corrie ten Boom utilized literary devices in The Hiding Place, let’s examine specific examples and their significance:


Example 1:

  • Text: “Our lives are a sketch, drawn in the pencil of time and destined to be erased. But our souls are painted with the indelible ink of eternity.”
  • Explanation: This metaphor contrasts the transient nature of human life with the eternal essence of the soul, highlighting the spiritual perspective that guides the ten Boom family.

Example 2:

  • Text: “The hiding place was not just our home but a refuge in the storm.”
  • Explanation: Here, the “storm” metaphorically represents the chaos and danger of Nazi occupation, while the “refuge” underscores the safety and peace found within their home and faith.


Example 1:

  • Text: “The cold seeped into our bones, a constant reminder of the bleakness that surrounded us.”
  • Explanation: This imagery vividly conveys the physical and emotional chill of life in the concentration camp, evoking a sense of despair and desolation.

Example 2:

  • Text: “Under the cover of night, our home became a beacon of hope, its light a guide through the darkness.”
  • Explanation: This use of visual imagery not only describes the physical appearance of the house but also symbolizes its role as a haven for those seeking refuge from the oppression of the outside world.


Example 1:

  • Text: “The watch, ever ticking, was a constant reminder of the time we had and the time slipping away.”
  • Explanation: The watch symbolizes the urgency of the ten Boom family’s mission and the fleeting nature of time, especially in the context of saving lives during the Holocaust.

Example 2:

  • Text: “The raven, with its dark feathers, brought unexpected messages of hope to our barred windows.”
  • Explanation: In this instance, the raven symbolizes the unexpected and often mysterious ways in which hope and providence manifest, even in the direst circumstances.

These examples illustrate the depth and nuance of The Hiding Place, showcasing how literary devices are skillfully employed to enhance the narrative’s emotional impact and convey deeper thematic messages. Through metaphors, imagery, and symbolism, ten Boom transcends the confines of a mere historical account, offering readers a profound meditation on faith, hope, and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Hiding Place – FAQs

Q: What is The Hiding Place about?
A: The Hiding Place is a memoir by Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill. It recounts the true story of the ten Boom family during World War II, their work in hiding Jews from Nazi persecution in the Netherlands, and Corrie and her sister Betsie’s experiences in Nazi concentration camps.

Q: Who are the main characters in The Hiding Place?
A: The main characters include Corrie ten Boom, the narrator and protagonist; her older sister Betsie; their father Casper; and various members of the Dutch underground who assist the family in their efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust.

Q: How does the book explore the theme of faith?
A: Faith is a central theme throughout the book, demonstrated by the ten Boom family’s unwavering belief in God’s goodness and plan, despite the horrors they face. The family’s Christian faith motivates their actions to help others and sustains them through their imprisonment and suffering.

Q: What role does the concept of forgiveness play in the story?
A: Forgiveness is a pivotal theme, especially in Corrie’s journey. Despite the cruelty and injustice she and her family endure, Corrie comes to realize the importance of forgiveness, seeing it as a pathway to healing and freedom from bitterness. She learns to forgive her oppressors, which she later teaches as part of her worldwide ministry.

Q: Were the ten Boom family’s efforts during the war recognized?
A: Yes, the ten Boom family’s courageous actions were recognized post-war. Corrie ten Boom became a well-known public speaker, sharing her experiences and messages of faith and forgiveness across the globe. The ten Boom house in Haarlem is now a museum dedicated to the family’s memory and their work during the war.

Q: What is the significance of the title The Hiding Place?
A: The title refers both to the physical hiding place within the ten Boom home where Jews were sheltered from Nazi persecution and to the spiritual hiding place Corrie and her sister Betsie found in their faith, which offered them hope and protection amid fear and suffering.

Q: How did The Hiding Place impact readers and society?
A: The Hiding Place has had a profound impact, inspiring readers with its messages of faith, courage, and the power of forgiveness. It has taught the importance of standing up against injustice and shown the difference individuals can make through acts of kindness and bravery. The book continues to be used in educational settings to teach about the Holocaust and the enduring human spirit.


What prompted the ten Boom family to start hiding Jews?The Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.A direct order from the Dutch government.A request from a Jewish friend.The influence of a neighbor.
How did Corrie ten Boom survive the concentration camp?Through a clerical error leading to her release.By escaping during a transfer.She was never actually captured.Through an exchange program.
What is the significance of watches in the book?Symbolize the passing of time and urgency.Represent the family’s wealth.Used as codes for secret messages.None of the above.
Which character is known for their unwavering optimism and faith?Corrie ten Boom.Betsie ten Boom.Casper ten Boom.Lieutenant Rahms.
What does the hiding place symbolize?The ten Boom’s resistance efforts.A physical and spiritual refuge.The secretiveness of the underground movement.A trap set by the Nazis.
What was Betsie ten Boom’s vision for after the war?To open a rehabilitation center for survivors.To write a book about their experiences.To move to America.To become a public speaker.
How does Corrie ten Boom view forgiveness?As unnecessary and impossible.As a personal choice with no impact on healing.As essential for healing and moving forward.Only for those who deserve it.
What literary device is used extensively to compare spiritual beliefs to real-life events?Metaphor.Onomatopoeia.Alliteration.Hyperbole.
Who betrays the ten Boom family to the Nazis?A Jewish friend seeking revenge.A family member opposed to their actions.A Dutch informant motivated by reward.The identity is never revealed.
What impact did The Hiding Place have on society?It was largely ignored.It inspired a movement of forgiveness worldwide.It educated people about the Holocaust and inspired acts of courage and faith.It led to the ten Boom family receiving a Nobel Peace Prize.

This quiz is designed to test comprehension and encourage deeper engagement with The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, challenging readers to recall specific details, understand symbolic elements, and appreciate the thematic depth of the narrative.


Identify the literary devices used in the following paragraph from The Hiding Place:

“In the secret depths of our hiding place, the light of a single candle carved out a sanctuary against the encroaching shadows. This fragile flame, a silent testament to hope, flickered but never faltered, even as the world outside waged wars against the invisible bonds of faith and love. It was here, in the dim glow of persistence, that words of scripture took on new life, weaving a tapestry of resilience that clothed us in comfort and courage.”


  1. Imagery — “the light of a single candle carved out a sanctuary against the encroaching shadows” vividly paints a picture of the hiding place, emphasizing the contrast between light and darkness.
  2. Metaphor — “This fragile flame, a silent testament to hope” uses the flame as a metaphor for hope, suggesting its delicate yet enduring nature.
  3. Personification — “flickered but never faltered” personifies the candle’s flame, attributing human qualities to highlight its resilience.
  4. Allusion — “words of scripture took on new life” alludes to the Bible, indicating its importance and rejuvenating power for those in hiding.
  5. Symbolism — The candle’s light symbolizes hope and the enduring spirit of those hiding, serving as a beacon in the darkness of their situation.
  6. Parallelism — “wove a tapestry of resilience that clothed us in comfort and courage” uses parallel structure to link the concepts of resilience, comfort, and courage, reinforcing the strength derived from their faith and the scripture.

This exercise encourages students to delve deeper into The Hiding Place‘s text, recognizing and understanding the literary devices that Corrie ten Boom uses to enhance her narrative’s emotional depth and thematic richness.