Summary: Chapter 7: Eusie

Corrie, now 51, describes the razzia, a series of sudden raids by the Gestapo to search for and seize young men. When soldiers invade the Beje, Peter and Kik hide under the floorboards. Christoffels is found dead, frozen with fear in his bed. Mr. and Mrs. de Vries hide at a neighbor’s, but that home is soon raided too. When Mr. de Vries is arrested, a kind police officer named Rolf arranges for Mrs. de Vries, who is Christian, to see her husband before he is transported. Corrie asks Rolf how they might repay his kindness, and he asks her to help him hide a young man. 

The Beje now operates as headquarters for an extensive underground operation. The household develops a code language using watch repair terms to discuss secrets over the phone. Many Jews arrive, including a mother and her newborn. A cantor from Amsterdam named Meyer Mossel arrives and becomes part of the family. To protect him, they rename him Eusie Smit. Pickwick has a buzzer alarm installed, and the household begins to hold hiding drills. Later, Mary, an elderly asthmatic woman, arrives, and the household takes her in. Everyone spends pleasant evenings doing theatrical readings and listening to music, lit by Corrie’s bike headlight.

Summary: Chapter 8: Storm Clouds Gather

Corrie witnesses Nollie and one of the girls they are hiding being taken away because Nollie tells the truth when asked if the girl is Jewish. The Jewish girl is freed during an unexpected break-in, but Nollie remains in prison. Corrie implores a doctor to free Nollie, but he tells Corrie she must wait. Corrie does not perform well during the practice drills at night because she has trouble lying. Willem holds weekly prayer meetings at the Beje. One night, Otto—the anti-Semite apprentice Father previously fired—appears at the door, and Corrie hits the buzzer. All nonfamily members hide well, and Otto leaves without incident.

Later, Nollie is released from prison. As the household celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, neighbors complain that the Jewish singing is loud. When Corrie is summoned by the police chief, she assumes the worst, but he is sympathetic with her family’s efforts. He seeks Corrie to help him kill an inside informant, but Corrie convinces him to pray for the informant’s enlightenment instead. Rolf informs the household of an impending raid nearby, and Jop, a Beje resident, goes to warn the victims. However, the Gestapo are waiting when Jop arrives, and he’s arrested.

Analysis: Chapters 7 & 8

The material facts of existence for Corrie, Betsie, and their hidden Jewish “guests” illustrate the deprivation and uncertainty of Dutch life under German occupation. Shortages of every kind affect the life of the city and the nation, and items which once were daily necessities, like coffee, tea, and meat, become first luxuries, then memories. The social pressure of never knowing who is a collaborator and who is resisting the Germans also erodes normal life. The ten Booms essentially have two different social networks: the surface group of acquaintances they have always had, and the hidden, much smaller, trusted group of allies in the resistance. Strangers and near-strangers like the Bulldog and Eusie become their new intimates and old associates like the Kans either disappear because of arrest or become untrustworthy because they are cooperating with the Nazis. News is another casualty of the occupation, with propaganda replacing fact in the newspapers and rumor replacing reporting in the daily life of the people. The events of Corrie’s life in the resistance emphasize the motif of unpredictable change and the disappearance of pre-war customs.

The behavior of each character under pressure reveals their priorities, and, Corrie’s narrative implies, their moral strength or weakness. The ten Booms and the reader quickly learn that age, occupation, and wealth are unrelated to strength of character. Both the wealthy Pickwick and the apprentice Jop take personal risks to help the underground when an opportunity offers, whereas the visiting pastor turns away from a newborn infant actually in his arms. In the face of the constant threat of arrest and imprisonment, Father, Corrie and Betsie maintain their integrity, emphasizing that for them, religious faith means action as well as belief. Their consideration on two occasions of giving up the resistance work shows that they are not naïve or foolish, but acting on principle. They are the same people they always were but have been placed in an extraordinary situation. However, the ten Booms have always been active in caring for others. Corrie’s work with the developmentally disabled, which she refers to casually as having been going on for 20 years, follows the example of her mother’s soup kettle and coffee pot. Father has always helped and advised those who came to him, and as circumstances demand of him, he affirms his intention to give more. In easier days, it was easy for them to live their faith. Now, in extraordinary times, maintaining that faith demands extraordinary acts of courage.