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In Chapter 7 of The Hiding Place, what did Eusie Smit (a.k.a. Meyer Mossel) add to the...

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swimchick2012 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 16, 2009 at 6:18 AM via web

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In Chapter 7 of The Hiding Place, what did Eusie Smit (a.k.a. Meyer Mossel) add to the life at the Beje?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 16, 2009 at 9:30 AM (Answer #1)

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Eusie Smit is light-hearted and always optimistic.  His thoughtful and generous nature has the effect of lifting the spirits of all those with whom he comes in contact, and serves to keep the attitude of his housemates positive and loving.

Meyer Mossel is "a Jew whose features (give) him away".  For this reason he cannot remain with his wife and children, who are hiding on a farm in the north, and he is referred instead to the Beje.  When Corrie is introduced to this "smiling slender man in his early thirties, with his protruding ears, balding head, and minuscule glasses", she "like(s) him instantly.  His first concern upon coming to live with the Ten Booms is whether he should quit his habit of smoking, lest the smell offend them.

Corrie is amazed at the man's attitude.  She notes that "of all the Jews who (have) come to (their) house this (is) the first to enter gaily and with a question about (their) own comfort".  Meyer, who is given the name Eusebius Smit so that the Semitism of his appelation does not give him away along with his features, quickly endears himself to Casper Ten Boom with his witty and light-hearted banter.  A cantor in the synagogue by profession, Eusie blesses the house with his passionate readings from the Bible, and gives Hebrew lessons one night a week to the others who find shelter at the Beje.

Eusie's loving attitude sets the tone for that of the others.  When the group gathers to discuss how to handle the problem of Mary Itallie, who suffers from a constant asthmatic wheeze and could endanger them all should the Nazis come to search the house, Eusie says,

"It seems to me that we're all here in your house because of some difficulty or other.  We're the orphan children - the ones nobody else want(s).  Any one of us is jeopardizing all the others.  I vote that Mary stay".

With that preamble, the situation is put to a vote.  All nine residents, sharing in the generous outlook exemplified by Eusie, vote that Mary should stay (Chapter 7).

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