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Free Study Guide for The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

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STUDY GUIDE FOR THE HIDING PLACE

CHAPTER EIGHT - Storm Clouds Gather

Summary

This chapter opens with Corrie remembering how broad their network had become. They were the center of a ring that spread to all the corners of Holland, and she worried that at some point, they were going to make a mistake. One day at lunch, Corrie saw a figure standing immobilized outside their window, and when she went to investigate, she discovered old Katrien who lived at Nollie’s house. The old woman cried out that Nollie had gone mad and revealed, when they were being questioned by the S.D., that one of the women living there - Annaliese - was a Jew. Corrie was appalled that Nollie’s rigid honesty might have compromised them all. When Corrie arrived at Nollie’s house, she saw her sister and Annaliese being taken away in a car. Later, she learned that Nollie was being held at the police station near Corrie’s home, but that Annaliese had been transported to Amsterdam from where Jews were being shipped to extermination camps. Then, the little cleaning woman, whose son had helped by Corrie and who had promised anything that she could do for them in her gratitude, kept the family in touch with Nollie since she cleaned at the station. The woman told Corrie that Nollie was in good spirits. Nollie also insisted that Annaliese would not be taken to Germany; God would not let her suffer, because Nollie had obeyed His law. Nonetheless, Corrie was furious that her sister had betrayed another human being.

Six days after Nollie and Annaliese were taken, Pickwick called, and Corrie traveled to his home for a message that could only be delivered in person: the Jewish theater in Amsterdam where Annaliese had been taken had been broken into, and Annaliese had been set free! Corrie could only wonder how Nollie had been so sure.

Nollie was eventually transferred to a federal prison in Amsterdam where Pickwick said a humane doctor, who occasionally arranged a medical discharge, was in practice. Corrie went at once to speak with him and, using the Dale Carnegie method from his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, spoke to the doctor at length about his passion: dogs. Then, the doctor promised after Corrie explained her real mission that he would do what he could. So they waited.

The family had another moment of worry one day when they were all sitting around the table for lunch. A man washing the window was looking in at their table. Eusie had the idea that they should all sing Happy Birthday to Father, and then, Corrie went outside to see what was going on. The window washer pretended that he had the wrong house, so no one knew if they had faced a spy. To Corrie, that was hardest part of everything: never knowing when they were safe and when they were in danger. She also worried about a raid that might occur in the middle of the night, because, even though she was better at it than before, she still often said things that would endanger them when she was awakened suddenly.


As for Willem, his work was watched more and more closely. He had managed to protect most of his old Jewish patients in his nursing home, but the Gestapo had still taken away one old blind woman who was 91 years old. She couldn’t even walk, and they arrested her!

One night after curfew, when the doorbell on the shop door chimed, Corrie answered it to discover Otto, the apprentice that Father had been forced to fire. He forced his way inside and called himself Captain Altschuler even though his insignia said he was far from being a captain. Corrie managed to reach one of the buzzers just as Otto was determined to go upstairs. He thought he heard it, but she insisted that there was no ringing sound. Then she locked the front door and took Otto upstairs. When the door was opened, there was only Father and Betsie sitting at the table with Corrie’s plate off to the side. Where once there had been twelve places, now there were only two. He eventually left, but they were all left shaken from the incident.

In the second week of October, the secret telephone rang, and when Corrie answered it, she heard Nollie’s voice asking her to come pick her up at the train station in Amsterdam. She had been in prison for seven weeks; she was totally confused when a prison doctor had declared that her low blood pressure might leave her permanently disabled. She had no idea how Corrie had managed to get the doctor to help.

At Christmas in 1943, they celebrated both the Christian holiday and Hanukkah. Unfortunately, the Jews who celebrated this Festival of Lights sang so loudly that their neighbor came to Corrie and urged her to quiet them down. Corrie was then reminded that if the neighbor knew so much, how much did the authorities know? She soon discovered that one of the authorities who did know was the Chief of Police himself. She received a notice from him to come to his office one afternoon in January at 3:00 PM. Corrie prepared for the eventuality that this might be a precursor to a raid. She even packed a “prison bag” for herself in case they took her into custody. When she arrived at the man’s office, a radio was playing and instead of turning it down, he turned it up. He proceeded then to tell her that he knew about her work in hiding Jews, and that some of them at the station were in sympathy with her family. He wanted to know if she knew the name of someone whom she could recommend to kill an informer in the police department. Her answer to the Chief of Police was to suggest that they pray for this man to no longer betray his countrymen. He then allowed her to leave and told her that it had been wrong of him to ask her for such help. When she arrived home again, Corrie told the family only parts of what had happened, because she didn’t want to burden them with the knowledge that they had been asked to kill.

The fact that they had friends in such high places did not make Corrie or her family feel any better. It only emphasized that too many people knew about their underground ring. They knew they should stop the work, but felt they could not. Too many people were depending on them. One night, Rolf came to the Beje to tell Corrie that a house in Ede was going to be raided, and they needed someone from her network to warn the people there. However, no one was available except Jop, their apprentice, who had never done any of this work before. Knowing they had no choice, they dressed him as a girl and sent him to the house. When he arrived, the Gestapo was already there and pretended to be the owners of the house. They arrested him and everyone there. Corrie and Rolf knew that they were in more danger than ever, because Jop would easily be broken. Corrie thought to herself, “This was evil’s hour: we could not run away from it. Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.”

Notes

This chapter continues to enumerate the many instances when the ten Boom’s network might have come crashing down around their heads. They seemed to have been moving closer and closer to discovery, because so many people knew about it. However, Corrie emphasizes in this chapter how their faith and their belief that they must continue their work was the overriding influence on their decisions. They had to do everything they could before God could do His work.

 


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