The Hiding Place Themes: Key Takeaways for Analysis

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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What are The Hiding Place themes that are important to know? How do the themes in The Hiding Place show key lessons?

The Hiding Place themes include morality, faith, and forgiveness. Read about the three themes on this list of The Hiding Place themes below.

What are The Hiding Place Themes?

The themes in The Hiding Place are important for understanding Corrie ten Boom, her motivations, and how she got through her time in the camps. Read about three The Hiding Place themes below.

Theme #1: Morality

The Germans also ordered that all privately owned radios be handed over, in an effort to prevent the occupied Dutch population from hearing Allied broadcasts via the BBC. The ten Boom family chose to defy the confiscation order. Accordingly, when the German requisition officer visited the Beje to ask if the family had a radio or other contraband materials, Corrie lied and told him that they didn’t. This was one of the first moral conflicts of the war she faced. Corrie knew that lying was a sin, expressly forbidden by the Ten Commandments. But she also knew that the confiscation order was unjust and that she would be compromising another part of her and her family’s moral code to comply with it.

The authorities offered to release Casper and allow him to return home to the Beje. But Casper refused this offer of mercy, telling the Germans that he would never close his door to anyone seeking help—if he went home, he would simply continue hiding fugitives. Even the Nazi terror could not rob Casper of his humanity. This one of The Hiding Place themes shows how morality questions play out in more difficult ways.

Theme #2: Faith

But Corrie was still becoming hardened by her experiences. The ordeal of the concentration camp took a clear physical and psychological toll on her. The days were marked by an early roll call out of the barracks, during which prisoners were forced to stand at attention for agonizingly long periods of time. After a thin breakfast, they were marched to work detail. 

Many of the women tried to peer into the adjacent men’s camp, hoping to catch a glimpse of a son, brother, or husband. They knew that discipline and punishment were far harsher in the men’s camp. Every day, the women would hear rifle shots ringing out from the men’s camp, prompting speculation about who, and how many, had been killed.

The ordeal was unimaginably degrading. Corrie and the other women were forced to strip naked and shower in front of the SS men, in cockroach-infested showers. Deprived of proper sanitary facilities, they were ordered to relieve themselves using the drain holes in the shower as toilets. There was no privacy, no dignity. Corrie managed to hold on to her Bible by concealing it in her blue sweater. Miraculously, the guards overlooked it when they searched the women as they emerged from the showers. It was her spiritual nourishment in this place that seemed so far removed from God. But she knew that God was with her, even in Ravensbruck. This one of The Hiding Place themes shows the key motivation for Corrie and her family’s actions.

Hiding Place Theme #3: Forgiveness

After finding out how her family was found out by the Gestapo, Corrie was angry. But, in the end, she hung on to her humanity—thanks to Betsie’s inexhaustible well of Christian mercy and forgiveness. Betsie told Corrie that this man must have been wracked with guilt over what he had done, that he was as tormented as they were. Through Betsie’s example, Corrie saw the error and sin of her vengeful thoughts. She saw that she faced the same judgment before God as Vogels did. He had caused the deaths of others through his deeds; but Corrie had murdered this man with her tongue and in her thoughts. That night, she prayed to God to forgive Vogel and herself as well. In forgiving him, she found herself at peace as well. This one of The Hiding Place themes demonstrates that even Corrie struggled with living her values at all times, but worked at it.

The Hiding Place Themes: Key Takeaways for Analysis

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Hiding Place summary:

  • 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.

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