Annemarie and Ellen are best friends in 1943 Denmark. Their life is pretty ordinary, despite Annemarie’s older sister’s tragic accidental death, their difference in religion (Annemarie is Christian and Ellen is Jewish) and the ever-present face of the Nazi soldiers on the street. The girls know that their brave king, Christian, will protect them from whatever the war will bring. However, one night the families learn that all Jews of Denmark are about to be deported to concentration camps. Annemarie’s family, with the help of the Danish Resistance, hide Ellen and attempt to send her to safety in Sweden.
Though a fictional story, Number the Stars recounts the little-known historical event where the Danes evacuated 8000 Jews into Sweden. Because of the Resistance’s efforts, and a German soldier who alerted a rabbi of the impending deportation, and despite great personal risk to all those involved, about 99% of Denmark’s Jewish population survived the Holocaust. It’s too bad this story isn’t more well-known in Holocaust history; it’s a fascinating story that I had never heard very much about.
Posted by: Cindy