The Hiding Place Characters: People You Should Know

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Who are The Hiding Place characters and key people that influence the story of Corrie ten Boom? What is the relevance of each character?

The Hiding Place characters include the ten Boom family, other members of the Haarlem community, and a few others that Corrie encounters. The Hiding Place character list below will give you an overview of the key The Hiding Place characters.

Who Are The Hiding Place Characters?

There are a variety of characters in the book. The Hiding Place character list includes categories for the main character, immediate and extended ten Boom family members, people in Haarlem, and other characters. Read more about The Hiding Place characters.

The Hiding Place Main Character

The Hiding Place main character is Corrie ten Boom. Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom, born in 1892, grew up in the Netherlands city of Haarlem as part of a long-established, devoutly Christian family deeply committed to their faith. Corrie formed a special bond with her maternal aunt, Tante Jans (“tante” being Dutch for “aunt”). As a teenager, Corrie had a failed courtship with a young man named Karel, a university classmate of her older brother, Willem. Corrie is The Hiding Place‘s main character.

The Hiding Place Characters in the Ten Boom Family

In addition to The Hiding Place‘s main character, there are many others in the ten Boom family that are notable parts of The Hiding Place character list.

The family patriarch, Casper ten Boom, was a master watchmaker whose skill was recognized all over Holland and even other countries in Western Europe. His watch shop was on the ground floor of the family’s home, known as the Beje.

Corrie’s mother, Cornelia, was a woman thoroughly dedicated to Christian charity. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Haarlem, when young Corrie was coming of age, the city was home to many poor and indigent people, including children. Mama took Corrie and her sister Nollie with her on her many visits to the city’s poorest slums to deliver alms to the needy. 

Willem, a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, was taking in Jewish refugees from Germany. One of these refugees, a man named Gutlieber, was at the party. Willem told the guests that Gutlieber was forced to flee Munich after a violent assault at the hands of Hitler Youth members, during which they attempted to set his beard on fire.

Her older sister, Nollie, on the other hand, was attractive and vivacious, always able to hold her own at parties and gatherings and draw everyone’s attention—whether she was talking about Einstein’s theory of relativity or Admiral Peary’s journey to the North Pole.

Betsie poured herself into refurbishing the Beje. Betsie made the Beje truly glow, while opening its doors to anyone in Haarlem who wished to stop in for a hot cup of coffee, homemade soup, or Christian prayer and fellowship. 

Tante Jans was active in charity and religious work, believing that God judged individuals based upon how much they accomplished in life. For Tante Jans, her faith-based work was her life. Unfortunately, Tante Jans was diagnosed with diabetes in 1914. In January 1919, her condition took a turn for the worse and she knew she would soon die. Before she passed, Tante Jans told Corrie that we all went to God empty-handed, for our deeds on Earth were nothing compared to Christ’s sacrifices on the cross. 

The Haarlem Community

There are several other The Hiding Place characters. As a teenager, Corrie had a failed courtship with a young man named Karel, a university classmate of her older brother, Willem. Distraught after the end of this relationship, Corrie came to Casper for comfort. Casper explained that Corrie should never seek to block out her love for Karel, but instead, look to God to show her a new way for that love to express itself. Little did Corrie know just how much love she truly had to share with the world.

In the late 1930s, Casper hired Otto, a young watchmaker from Germany, to work in the shop. Although technically skilled, Otto was harsh and cruel in temperament. Otto was a member of the Hitler Youth back in his native Germany, a fact of which he was immensely proud, and took every occasion to remind anyone who would listen.

Christoffels was an itinerant clock mender, one of the few non-family members employed by the watch shop. Christoffels was a kindly, elderly man who was a frequent presence at the ten Booms’ prayer and Bible study sessions. Casper kept him on because he believed that itinerant watchmen like Christoffels, though a dying breed, were unmatched in skill.

Mr. and Mrs. Weil were the first Jews in Haarlem Corrie helped rescue. In November 1941, the Germans surrounded and vandalized the Weils’ furrier shop, located next to Casper’s watch shop. The ten Boom family watched as the Germans looted and destroyed the shop, thankfully while its occupants were absent. Corrie and the family made the pivotal decision to intervene.

Mrs. Bierens de Haan, an aristocratic woman who lived in the wealthy Haarlem suburb of Bloemendaal. As the two women spoke, Mrs. de Haan shared that her mother had been a friend of Tante Jans, years before. Mrs. de Haan had always admired Tante Jans’s charitable work and Christian writings and had known of the Beje as a place of refuge and Christian charity. And Corrie, too, had known of the de Haan estate as the most beautiful home in all of Haarlem.

Fred Koonstra ran the Food Office, which was the department in charge of issuing ration cards. Before this, he had worked for the local electric company, reading the meter at the Beje. He also had a mentally challenged daughter, which gave him a more meaningful connection to the ten Boom family.

The police officer Rolf directly assisted the operation by funneling fugitives to hide at the Beje (often under the pretense of needing a watch repaired) and ensuring a minimal police presence in the area.

Other Notable People

There are several other notable The Hiding Place characters. Lieutenant Rahms was different than the other Nazi officials she had encountered. Where they had been harsh, violent, and outwardly cruel, Rahms was gentle, disarming, and even seemed to express concern for Corrie. His first act, upon seeing that she was shivering, was to light a fire in the hut’s stove to help her warm up and get comfortable.

Moorman was an expert operator within the camp system. He skillfully presented a subservient and obedient face to the Germans, while covertly organizing sabotage and work slowdowns among his workers in an effort to hamper the German war machine. On one occasion, Moorman even admonished Corrie for being too diligent and conscientious with her work, reminding her that they were, after all, making radios for German airplanes. 

Mrs. Floor was a Communist and pregnant woman who shared barracks with Corrie and Betsie. Her husband was imprisoned in Vught’s men’s camp, as were those of many of the other women. Corrie feared for Mrs. Floor’s health, and that of her baby, noting how dangerously thin she was for an expectant mother. On September 1, Mrs. Floor went into labor. With no access to basic gynecological or post-natal care, she was forced to deliver her child, a girl, on the floor of the filthy and infested barracks. The girl lived a mere four hours. 

The Hiding Place Characters: People You Should Know

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  • Why devout Christian Corrie ten Boom decided to stand up to the Nazi occupation
  • How ten Boom and the Jewish neighbors she was hiding were caught
  • How ten Boom survived the concentration camp and left with even stronger faith

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

One thought on “The Hiding Place Characters: People You Should Know

  • April 5, 2023 at 7:49 am

    What happened to Lt. Rahms after the war?


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