Free Study Guide for The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom|
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THE HIDING PLACE BOOK SUMMARY
We learn further about the deep faith of the ten Boom family who met every morning at 8:30 for Scripture reading and opened their devotionals to any and all, including their employees, who included Hans the apprentice, Toos, the saleslady-bookkeeper, and Christoffels. Christoffels was an itinerant clock mender who had once trudged all over Holland repairing tall pendulum clocks in every Dutch farmhouse.
Eventually, Betsie sent Corrie to the home of their younger sister, Nollie, for her cups, because a steady stream of guests began to find their way to the ten Boom home to congratulate their father. She rode her bicycle there and once again stops, as the narrator, to wonder how she could have foreseen that day how on a summer day in the not so distant future, she would brake her bicycle once again in front of this house, daring to go no further for fear of what was happening inside. While waiting on the cups, Corrie introduces the readers to her nephew, Peter, who at thirteen was a musical prodigy and the pride of her life.
Later in the chapter, Corrie introduces us to other people who would come together again and again in the future under very different circumstances: the policemen, Pickwick, Mr. and Mrs. Kan, the owners of the other watch shop, and of course, Willem, her older brother. She notes that these characters were all so very different from each other and yet, in her father’s eyes, all alike. That was his secret: he not only overlooked the differences in people, he actually had no idea they were there. She tells us more about Willem, who was the only one of the children to go to college and had become an ordained minister. She felt he was so much more observant than other people, because back in 1927, in Germany, where he had completed his doctoral thesis, he had written about a terrible evil that was taking root there, the seeds of contempt for human life such as the world had never seen. At that time, the few who read his paper had merely laughed. Now, of course, in 1937, they weren’t laughing anymore, for some of the businesses owned by Jews, with which the family had done business for years, had simply vanished.
As a result, Willem had scrimped and saved enough money to open an old folk’s home for elderly Jews and then, opened it, also, to younger and younger Jewish refugees from Germany. With these people came tales of a mounting madness. That day, Willem brought with him a man named Herr Gutlieber, a young Jewish man whose face had been severely burned. He had just arrived from Germany that morning and his burns were the result of a group of teenage boys in Munich who had set his beard on fire. As Corrie struck up a conversation with the newcomer, she overheard the watch salesman say that the police in Munich would catch up to the young hooligans, because “Germany was a civilized country.”
Corrie observes that the shadow of war fell only lightly over them on that
winter afternoon in 1937. Nobody believed the shadow would grow until
it was too late and blocked out the sky. She knows now that the experiences
of our lives, “when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect
preparation for the work He will give us to do.” Now she can think back
to how events of the past stand out in perfect focus against the blur
of the rest of her life as though they were unfinished, as though they
had something more to say.
This chapter is one of introduction for the reader to the members of Corrie’s family and all of their friends who will have a profound impact on the events which are waiting just around the corner. It helps set the stage for the sad events which affect such a highly loved group of people who will become victims of the Nazi war machine. We, too, will be affected, because it’s obvious what a devout, decent family the ten Booms are. They accept anyone, no matter what faith or what class, into their homes, and so we can begin to understand that they would willingly make it a hiding place for anyone as well. There are some interesting ironies, many examples of foreshadowing, and symbolic moments as well. Corrie’s commentary about how they could never have known what was awaiting them just around the corner on that winter afternoon prepares us for the horrific experiences that await them. The watch salesman’s comment that Germany is a civilized country, is ironic, given that all readers must now know how uncivilized they actually were. And the dear old watch shop, with its many ticking clocks, which brings Corrie such comfort and joy, is actually the ticking of a symbolic time bomb leading to the horrors they will face.
It is also important to note that now Corrie sees how the events of her life were all intended by God to help her find something significant that He wanted her to do.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Hiding Place".
. 10 May 2008