Corrie comes down with the flu. She feels terrible and disoriented, and everything is aggravated by the noise of the household, especially the fugitives coming and going from the secret room just next to her bed. In the morning, Betsie wakes her up saying that there’s a man at the door waiting to speak to her.
This moment of personal annoyance, one of the few Corrie expresses in the entire novel, is a reminder of her usual selflessness.
Unsteadily, Corrie gets dressed and goes downstairs. In the front rooms people are gathering for Willem’s service. Nollie is passing around makeshift coffee and Peter is playing the piano. At the door, the strange man tells Corrie that his wife has been arrested for hiding Jews. He needs money for a bribe to get her out of jail and prevent her from being interrogated.
It’s cheering to Corrie that her family still gathers regularly, preserving its habits from before the war. However, their continued close association puts everyone at risk if one branch is discovered.
Something about the man’s urgent demeanor gives Corrie a bad feeling, but she knows she has to help him in his hour of need. Corrie tells him to come back in an hour and sends Toos to the bank for the money. Then she stumbles upstairs to bed, shaking with cold.
The fact that Corrie has dealt with this entire scenario alone, despite her sickness, reflects her undisputed position as leader of the organization.
Corrie wakes up at night to the sound of the buzzer. At first she thinks it’s a drill, but then she realizes the long-awaited emergency has finally arrived. Corrie stuffs her briefcase, full of ration cards and addresses of houses, into the room. She’s just gotten back in bed and is praying for God to heal Mary’s wheezing when the Gestapo officers burst inside.
It’s interesting that Corrie is eager to view any small misfortune, like Mary’s silence, as God’s benevolence, but she doesn’t see disasters like the arrival of the Gestapo as an act of God.
The officer asks Corrie where she’s hiding the Jews, but she pretends to be sleepy and confused as to what he’s talking about. She puts on her clothes, trying to make noise to cover up any of Mary’s asthma. She wants to grab the prison bag that she’s kept prepared for such a situation, but it’s sitting right in front of the panel that leads to the secret room. Reluctantly, she leaves it behind and goes downstairs.
The prison bag is a kind of talisman for Corrie, allowing her to feel a measure of control even though she could be imprisoned at any moment. By leaving it behind, she’s trusting herself completely to God’s mercy, without any worldly defense against what’s coming to her.
Downstairs Father, Betsie, and Toos are sitting against the wall, along with three underground workers who had been in the house. A small wooden sign advertising Alpina watches, which Corrie usually keeps in the window as a signal that it’s safe to enter, has been knocked to the ground—she’s relieved that someone moved it out of the way in all the chaos. Gestapo officers are pawing through the cache of valuables and money, which they’ve already discovered.
The officers’ greedy interest in the money contrasts with the ten Booms’ disinterest in such things and their steadfast storage of their friends’ valuables. This suggests that religious intolerance is not an isolated fault but something that coincides with and depends on other vices like greed. For example, the officers may be more eager to persecute Jews since they know they’ll be able to confiscate their valuables.
According to the officer’s information, Corrie is “the leader of the whole outfit.” He pushes her into the shop and asks her where she hides her Jews and ration cards, slapping her between each question. Corrie calls on Jesus to protect her, and the officer warns, “if you say that name again I’ll kill you.” When she still won’t answer his questions, he returns her upstairs and takes Betsie away.
The officer’s violent reaction when Corrie invokes Jesus evinces a sense of fear. It seems he believes religion to be as much of an enemy as the ten Booms themselves, possibly because it encourages people to stand up against the Nazi state.
Corrie sees that the other officer has placed the Alpina sign back in the window. He’s figured out that it was some sort of signal. Just then, an underground member arrives at the door to announce that Pickwick has been arrested. The Gestapo officer gets as much information out of her as he can, then arrests her. Corrie realizes that the Beje has been turned into a trap. There’s no way for anyone to know it’s not safe until they’re already inside.
Corrie’s wide network of friends and family, and people’s ease in coming and going from the Beje, has always proved a boon. Now, however, it exacerbates the catastrophe, allowing the Gestapo to arrest more operatives and extract more information.
Betsie reappears with a huge bruise in her cheek. As Corrie cries over her injuries, she says that she feels sorry for the officer. Hearing this, the man turns around and shouts at her to remain silent.
Betsie’s forgiveness is not just a personal virtue but a kind of weapon—her ability to forgive intimidates the officers and reminds them of their mutual humanity.
The officer jerks the Bible off its shelf and shouts at Father that the holy book prescribes obedience to the government. Mildly, Father quotes the psalm to which he’s referring, which says to “Fear God and honor the king.” The officer shouts that “we’re the legal government now, and you’re all lawbreakers!”
Here, it’s clear that the officer’s literal interpretation of the Bible is self-serving and wrong. In this scenario, the best way to “fear” God isn’t by obeying the Nazi state but by standing up to it.
Meanwhile, other soldiers have been searching for a secret room without success. The officer shrugs and says that this doesn’t matter—they’ll just post a guard around the house, and the people inside the room will starve to death or come outside. He orders everyone to get their coats. Corrie is saddened to see Willem, Nollie, and Peter emerge from another room, caught up in the raid as well. Father insists on winding the clock before he leaves.
It’s upsetting to Corrie that her family is being arrested, but even worse that her fugitives may be trapped inside the house, as they would probably face fates worse than imprisonment upon discovery.
The family is marched to the nearby police station, through the doors where Corrie last saw Harry de Vries into a large gymnasium. For hours they sit on the floor, dazed, while officers take down names and addresses. Corrie counts thirty-six people arrested in the raid on the Beje, but she doesn’t see Pickwick.
The association between this room and Harry makes the situation even more ominous, as Corrie has heard nothing of her friend since his deportation and believes him to be dead.
When the officer goes out of earshot, Corrie hisses that they must all settle on a cohesive story, but Peter silences her with a frown, whispering that the watchmaker currently talking with Father is a Gestapo informer. Corrie realizes that her faculties have been impaired by the flu, and lies back down. She’s too sick even to eat the rolls given to them at dinnertime.
Corrie has always been a sharp and adept leader, but because of her illness she’s liable to make mistakes. By emphasizing her human fallibility, she reminds the reader that anyone could be thrust into her position or have to take on a role like hers.
Everyone gathers around Father for evening prayers—just like they did at home. Although the Bible has been left behind, Father carries its teachings in his heart and is able to recite perfectly. He quotes the same psalm about the “hiding place” that Corrie remembers from her childhood.
Here, the same psalm Father read during Corrie’s childhood reminiscence resurfaces. This stylistic technique conveys a sense that Corrie’s life follows a divine plan, and that her whole childhood was preparation for this situation.
No one sleeps well, and in the morning the offers reenter with their papers. At noon, they’re again led out of the building and into a large bus. Many people are gathered along the police barricades. Recognizing Father, they cry out in horror at the idea of him going to prison. Corrie sees officers hauling Pickwick, who is covered in bruises and dried blood, onto the bus. As the bus starts up and crosses the market square, Corrie remembers her vision from years ago. The image she had seen is finally coming to pass.
Corrie views her long-ago vision as a sign from God, which is now being fulfilled. Even though what God predicted is essentially a catastrophe, she doesn’t blame him or interpret this as evidence of ill will. Rather, she sees it as attempt to strengthen her against what is a tragic but necessary event in her life.