The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Corrie Ten Boom

As her memoir describes in detail, Corrie ten Boom was born into a large and religious Dutch family at the turn of the 20th century. After sheltering Jewish fugitives throughout World War II and surviving internment in the Vught and Ravensbruck concentration camps, ten Boom returned to Holland and opened rehabilitation centers both for Holocaust survivors and former Dutch Nazi collaborators. To raise money for these projects, ten Boom began speaking about her experiences to church audiences. She soon became well-known and traveled the world as an evangelical motivational speaker, speaking alongside famous preachers like Billy Graham. She emerged not just as a religious thinker but a social critic, protesting modern issues like the Vietnam War. Corrie wrote many books about her life and her relationship to Christian teachings, among which The Hiding Place is the most famous. Ten Boom was honored as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, an honor given by Israel to non-Jews who put themselves at risk to save Jewish lives during the war. In the last years of her life, ten Boom retired to California, where she died on her 91st birthday.
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Historical Context of The Hiding Place

In the midst of crippling economic depression and political discontent following the World War I, the Nazi party – led by Adolf Hitler – rose to power in Germany. The Nazis promised to restore Germany’s lost greatness and the privileges which Germans deserved as members of a “superior” race; to accomplish this, they argued, Germans must eliminate “inferior” people like homosexuals, Romani people, Communists, the mentally disabled, and above all Jews. In 1939, Germany sparked World War II. Conquering or occupying almost all of Europe in the war’s first years, German forces persecuted Jews and other marginalized groups and deported millions to concentration and death camps built to execute large numbers of people at maximum speed. They were aided in this endeavor by the cooperation of conquered governments, local far-right parties, and ordinary people who profited by appropriating the goods and property of their deported neighbors. By the time the Allied forces won the war in 1945, Germany and its collaborators had murdered eleven million people, six million of them Jews.

Other Books Related to The Hiding Place

There is a wealth of literature describing and attempting to explain the events of the Holocaust, from the perspective of both survivors and people who helped them. Perhaps the most obviously related to The Hiding Place is Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, which tells the story of a Dutch Jewish family hiding in a house in Amsterdam, much as Corrie sheltered fugitives in her own house. Elie Wiesel wrote a number of books about his time in Auschwitz, most notably Night, and later won the Nobel Prize for his work. Other authors have addressed the difficulty and moral implications of remembering the Holocaust. In his graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman addresses the fact that by focusing on people who survived, Holocaust narratives often inadvertently marginalize the tragedy of those who died. Primo Levi, best known for If This is a Man, was one of the first thinkers to address the phenomenon of Holocaust denial and trivialization that has sprung up in the decades since its occurrence.
Key Facts about The Hiding Place
  • Full Title: The Hiding Place
  • When Written: 1971
  • Where Written: Holland
  • When Published: 1971
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Setting: Haarlem, Holland
  • Climax: Corrie’s arrest and sentencing to prison
  • Antagonist: Nazi Germany, intolerance
  • Point of View: First-person limited

Extra Credit for The Hiding Place

Blockbuster. In 1975, The Hiding Place was made into a movie starring Julie Harris and Jeannette Clift as Betsie and Corrie ten Boom.

Back to the Bible. The Hiding Place’s title derives from a verse in Psalm 119, which says of God, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield.”