The Hiding Place

by Corrie ten Boom

Start Free Trial

Student Question

In The Hiding Place, what did Corrie mean by saying life in Ravensbruck occurred on two levels?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The two separate levels on which Corrie observes that life takes place for the women at Ravensbruck are the observable and the spiritual.  The "observable, external life", filled with unbelievable cruelty, deprivation, and daily humiliation, "grew every day more horrible".  The spiritual life, however, "the life (they ) lived with God, grew daily better, truth upon truth, glory upon glory".

That the two separate levels of life that Corrie describes should exist together is, logically, "mutually impossible".  It is a testimony to the infinite power of God and the unconquerable faith of the Ten Boom sisters that they should coexist at all.  With complete trust in their Maker, Corrie and Betsie accept everything that happens to them with the belief that it is all part of a greater plan.  When they are sent to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck, they take it as an opportunity to share the word of God and minister to their fellow prisoners, smuggling in a small Bible, which becomes "the center of an ever-widening circle of help and hope".  Betsie and Corrie quietly share the Bible with their fellow inmates every night -

"like waifs clustered around a blazing fire, (they) (gather) about it, holding out (their) hearts to its warmth and light...the blacker the night around (them) (grows), the brighter and truer and more beautiful burn(s) the word of God".

Because of the intrepid faith of the two women, the spiritual, inner life at the camp does indeed exist along with the external, observable level, transcending the ugliness all around with its power and strength (Chapter 13).

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial