In the book The Hiding Place, what are the hiding places, real and symbolic, to which the title refers?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can't think of a more important question to ask in regards to Corrie Ten Boom's book. Before beginning, let's review some important history. Germany took over Holland in 1940, and when the Nazis came in, the Jewish people became more and more oppressed (finally forced into death camps by the Germans). The Hiding Place is a story of two basic hiding places: one literal (a watch shop) and one figurative (religion). These two hiding places involve most of the characters in some way.

First, let's talk about the literal hiding place: the Ten Booms watch shop in the Dutch town of Haarlem. The Ten Booms were a well-known family with a business over one hundred years old. The family was always for protection of the Jewish people and began by directing the Jews to the "underground" so that they could be protected.  Unfortunately, as time went on, this underground movement wasn't enough protection for the number of Jews that needed help and the Ten Booms had to take the next step:  offering part of their residence and shop to a Jewish family.  It is the residence and the watch shop that becomes the literal hiding place. Long story short, unfortunately, the hiding place is found out and everyone is arrested and sent to death camps.

Next, let's discuss the figurative hiding place: religion. Betsie, always a faithful follower of her religion, held fast to her faith when she reached the work camp after everyone was arrested. It was Betsie who encouraged Corrie to hide within her faith in order to survive. Both Corrie and Betsie bond together by sharing God's Word to all of the women they are incarcerated with. This brings encouragement and hope to all who listen. 

Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.

Unfortunately, Betsie dies at Ravensbruck (the name of the Nazi work camp) while Corrie survives to tell her story of her successful religious "hiding place." It is that hiding place, the figurative one, that really kept her safe.

In conclusion, it's important to note that Corrie's figurative "hiding place" of religion truly did work. Corrie survived the work camp at Ravensbruck. Afterwards, Corrie dedicated her life to sharing what really happened during the Holocaust in order to spread the faith and the message of perseverance to all who would listen. Corrie Ten Boom shared her story again and again until she died in her nineties.