For the next several days, a gray mist and a white pall hung over the camp. Corrie was so lonely for Betsie that she did a desperate thing: Mien had told her a way to get into the hospital without passing the guard post. She found a window there and dropped into a room where to her horror lay a dozen naked corpses. She was unable to move for a moment, but eventually, she found her way to Betsie. Her sister was much better just from having had the opportunity to lie down and rest. Three days later, she returned to Barracks 28. She was given permanent assignment, because of her illness, to the knitting room, which gave her most of the day to minister to others. Betsie later told Corrie that she had discovered why the guards had never come into their barracks: they were afraid of the fleas. So, by thanking God even for the fleas, Betsie had made it possible for the prayer services to continue.

December became a time when survival truly was reserved for the fittest, and many died. One day, Corrie and Betsie witnessed a feeble-minded girl soil herself which made one of the guards whip her viciously with the leather crop. Corrie felt so badly for the girl that she asked Betsie if, after the war, they couldn't make a home for them. Betsie replied that she prayed every day for the same thing, the chance to show them that love was greater. It was only later that Corrie realized that Betsie was referring to the guard, not the feeble-minded girl.

Several days later, Corrie was sent into the hospital for a medical inspection that would have sent her to transportation to a munitions factory. Her fear was palpable as she knew she could not leave Betsie. When she was asked to read a sight chart, she pretended that she could only read the largest letter and deliberately read it wrong. She told the doctor that she couldn't leave Ravensbruck, because her sister was ill. However, he only told her to come back for glasses the next day. Her order said to report for glasses at 6:30AM, the exact time the transports were leaving. As a result, she could find no glasses that fit and now had no work assignment. So, she ended up in the knitting room with Betsie where for one joyous week, they brought the word of God to all the women there. They also talked about what God wanted for them after the war. Betsie was very clear that they must have a large house to open to people who had been damaged by life in the concentration camps in order to help them live again in a normal world. Her descriptions were so real that in spite of the misery of the camp, Corrie could see the wide, winding staircase and the beautiful gardens.

The aching cold continued and one morning in pre-inspection line-up, Corrie saw trucks roll up to the hospital and dozens of old and very ill people were gently and solicitously loaded into the trucks to be taken to the building at the end of the camp where the large smokestack stood. They all knew where these people were being taken. The camp was too crowded, so the old and the weak had to be exterminated. But for Corrie, the gentle way the nurses handled the very people they were sending to their deaths was the most unexplainable. She wondered what was passing through the mind of one nurse as she loaded up her patient.

As the cold hung on, the temptation to think only of oneself grew stronger. Corrie felt the need to hoard the yeast compound Mien had given her, but she knew that this was a trick of Satan who displayed such blatant evil that one's own secret sins didn't seem to matter. Eventually, she was able to accept that the real sin she had been committing was not that of inching toward the center of the platoon because she was cold or of hoarding the yeast. The real sin lay in thinking that any power to transform and help came from her. It was not her wholeness, but Christ's that made the difference. And so she moved on, better able to help those around her, to help her sister, and to help herself.

As the cold continued into December, Betsie's legs became affected, and the week before Christmas, she was unable to move either her legs or her arms. Corrie and another woman helped Betsie report for roll call after which she would be allowed to go to the hospital. However, the line was so long that they took her back to the barracks where Betsie, weak as she was, continued to remind Corrie about the house they must have. She was sure it was waiting for them and that it had tall, tall windows. She also said she could see a concentration camp where she and Corrie were in charge. A coughing fit seized her at that point, and a stain of blood blackened the straw. The next day, they went once again through roll call and the worst guard, The Snake, ordered them back to the barracks. Then, Corrie found her with two orderlies and a stretcher waiting to take Betsie to the hospital. As she was carried away, Betsie told Corrie that she must continue to tell people what they had learned there, because people would believe them since they witnessed it all. She also insisted that they would be out of prison by the first of the year. Later, Corrie obtained permission to visit Betsie, and the last thing Betsie said before she fell asleep was to tell Corrie that there was still so much to do.

The next morning, Corrie headed to the hospital without permission. When she arrived at Betsie's bed, she saw two nurses at the head and foot of the bed upon which lay a strange figure looking like old, yellow ivory. After a few minutes, she realized it was Betsie, and when she looked again, the nurses were gone with Betsie's body. She knew that she was probably in that washroom with other corpses she had seen that day and every time she came close to going, something held her back. Finally, Mien came running and insisted she come with her. She brought Corrie to Betsie and showed her yet another of God's miracles: Betsie's face was no longer thin and pale, but full and healthy. The grief lines were gone; the deep hollows of hunger had disappeared. It was the Betsie of Haarlem, free and strong. Even her hair was in place as if an angel had ministered to her. As Corrie turned to leave, she saw the blue sweater in a pile of clothes to be burned. She picked it up to take it with her as a reminder of her sister, but Mien would not allow it, because it was covered with black lice. However, even though she had to leave behind this last tangible reminder of her sister, she knew that what tied her to Betsie now was the hope of heaven.


This chapter is a very poignant one as Corrie struggles to understand and accept the evil and cruelty that exists around her. She finds her away out of selfishness and further into the light of God. Then, she faces her sister's death, a wound from which she might never heal. However, God is still there and shows his magnificence in how he leaves Betsie's body. It is free and strong and is proof that his compassion exists. It is enough for Corrie to know that Betsie will always be with her.


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