Do people stand up to fascism? Who can find hope when their people are disappearing right and left? How does a single child survive a human-made holocaust? These are the types of questions Danes had to deal with during World War II. And their answer is found in Lois Lowry’s poignant novel, Number the Stars.
Number the Stars is the story of two 10 year old friends, AnneMarie and Ellen, who live in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943. The story is told by the Christian, girl AnneMarie, as she watches what happens to her Jewish friend, Ellen, when the Nazis gain power. The events seem innocuous until one day some friends of the family disappear, and their business is shut down, as the Nazi “relocation” of the Danish Jews gets underway. What ensues is a heroic adventure that reminds us all of the best and the worst in humanity.
Not only moving, but educational, Lowry’s book is based on real events of the evacuation of Danish Jews from Copenhagen during WWII. It is heartening to hear that when the Nazis threatened to relocate all the Jews in Denmark, the Danish people came to their aid and smuggled almost the entire Jewish population, nearly 7,000 people, to the safety of Sweden.
If only all peoples could band together like this. Just imagine.
A teacher, Laurie Woodward is the author of several novels including Forest Secrets, and the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles. She also cowrote Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes her novels on the Central Coast of California.