Number the Stars Character & Chapter Summaries Annemarie
Number the Stars Character & Chapter Summaries Annemarie Johansen Annemarie is a ten-year-old girl living in Copenhagen, Denmark with her family in 1943. Annemarie enjoys running, fairy tales, and spending time with her best
friend, Ellen Rosen. Although her younger sister Kirsti sometimes bothers her, Annemarie does her best to be a good older sister. When Ellen, who is Jewish, finds herself in danger from the Nazis, Annemarie must help her escape to safety. Ellen Rosen
Ellen is Annemarie's best friend. She is talented great actress and dedicated student - she has to be, because her father is a teacher. Ellen is kind to everybody and is like a sister to Annemarie and Kirsti. However, her life changes after the Germans occupy Denmark because Ellen and her family are Jewish. They must escape to Sweden to avoid persecution, and are able to do so with the help of their longterm friends, the Johansens.
Kirsti Kirsti (short for Kirsten) is Annemarie's five-year-old sister. Kirsti does not always understand the severity of the events going on around her. However, her childlike innocence and tendency to chatter
endear her to everyone--even some German soldiers. The Giraffe A young, tall, German soldier who patrols the street corner near Annemarie's school. He is stern but not violent.
Mrs. Rosen Mrs. Rosen is Ellen's mother. She is good friends with Mrs. Johansen and they have coffee together almost every day.
Mama Mrs. Johansen, or "Mama", is Annemarie and Kirsti's mother. She is warm and kind, but also extremely brave when she must face danger to save the Rosens' lives. Lise
Lise Johansen was Annemarie's older sister. She would have been twenty-one in 1943, but she died in a car accident at the age of 18. At the time of her death, Lise was engaged to Peter Neilsen, who is still like family to the Johansens. At the end of the novel, Annemarie learns that Lise was run over by German soldiers
after attending a Resistance meeting. Peter Neilsen He was Lise's fun-loving fianc. He is a member of the Danish Resistance and regularly risks his life to fight the Germans and rescue the Jews. Even after Lise's death, he stays close to
the Johansens and even helps them rescue the Rosens. Papa Mr. Johansen ("Papa") is Annemarie and Kirsti's father. Like Mama, he is a kind and compassionate parent, but he is also a patriotic Dane and is
willing to make sacrifices to stand up to the Germans. Uncle Henrik Annemarie's uncle and Mama's brother. An unmarried fisherman, Henrik lives alone in the fishing village of Gilleleje. He is very close to his
sister, and has even named his boat after her. He is involved in the effort to smuggle Jews across the sea to Sweden. He helps the Rosens escape in a secret compartment on his boat. Mrs. Hirsch The owner of a button-and-thread
shop near Annemarie's house. The Germans close her shop because she is Jewish; her family is forced to flee Copenhagen. Great-Aunt Birte Mama claims to have a aunt who passes away in Chapter 8. However, Great-Aunt Birte does not really exist.
Mama and Uncle Henrik make her up so that they can hold a funeral, which is really an excuse for Uncle Henrik to collect all the Jewish refugees at his home before smuggling them to Sweden. Chapter 1 Summary
Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen are ten years old. They are best friends and live in Copenhagen, Denmark. The story begins in 1943, and Germany has occupied Denmark for the past three years. All around Copenhagen, German soldiers patrol the streets, searching for Jews and Resistance members.
Chapter 1 Annemarie and Ellen race home from school, while Annemaries younger sister, Kirsti, trails behind. Annemarie hopes to win the running race at school the following week. As they barrel down the sidewalk, two German soldiers suddenly stop them. The tall soldier, whom Annemarie calls The Giraffe, asks why they are running and questions them about their identities. The
girls are scared but the soldier breaks the tension when he tries to touch Kirstis hair and Kirsti slaps his hand away. The Giraffe says that Kirsti reminds him of his own daughter back home. The soldiers let Annemarie and Ellen go, reminding them not to run because it makes them look like hoodlums. Chapter 1
Ellen, Annemarie, and Kirsti arrive at their apartment building. Ellen lives on the second floor and Annemarie and Kirsti live on the third. They agree not to tell their mothers about being stopped by the Germans because it will upset and worry them. However, Kirsti races ahead and starts talking about the Germans before Annemarie can stop her. Ellens mother, Mrs. Rosen, happens to be having coffee with Mrs. Johansen, Annemarie and Kirsti's mother. Both women are very upset when they hear about their
daughters' encounter with the soldiers, but Annemarie does her best to assure them that everything is fine. Chapter 1 Mrs. Rosen makes Annemarie promise to walk to school a different way tomorrow. She explains that it is important for the girls to blend in with the crowd so that the Germans will not be able to
remember their faces. Annemarie asks for a snack for herself and Kirsti, but all they get is bread without any butter. Because of the war, many Danes are facing severe food shortages. Many basic items like butter and coffee are unavailable in Denmark. Mama explains that theyll have food again when the war ends. Chapter 2
That same night, Annemarie tells Kirsti a bedtime story to help the little girl fall asleep. When Kirsti finally nods off, Annemarie thinks about King Christian X, the King of Denmark. All of the Danes love King Christian, who rides his horse around Copenhagen each morning to greet citizens. Annemarie and her older sister, Lise, once watched him pass by,
looking on in admiration. Chapter 2 Annemarie remembers a story her father told her about King Christian when the Germans first invaded. A German soldier saw King Christian riding down the street but did know who this man was. The soldier asked a young
Danish boy who was riding past. The Danish boy informed the German that this was Denmark's King, and the German asked where the Kings bodyguard was. The boy replied, "the whole population of Denmark is the Kings bodyguard." Chapter 2
Back then, Papa explained that every true Dane would die for King Christian, including himself and Mama. Annemarie, only 7 at the time, stated that she would die for the King, too. Looking back, Annemarie wonders why King Christian chose to surrender rather than fight the Germans. Papa had explained that many Danish people would have died if they had chosen to fight because the German military is much more powerful than Denmark's. Annemarie muses that the Germans
occupy many European countries now, but Sweden is still free. Chapter 2 Annemarie also thinks about her eighteenyear-old sister, Lise, who died in an accident two weeks before her wedding. She was engaged to Peter Neilsen, who still visits the family often. He talks to Mama and Papa about the Resistance and
brings them De Frie Danske, an illegal newspaper. Before Lises death, he was cheerful and fun-loving. Now, he seems stressed and unhappy. Chapter 3 September passes and the weather gets colder. Winters have been especially miserable
after German occupation because fuel and electricity are now scarce in Denmark. The Johansens and the Rosens often suffer through freezing nights with no heat source. Despite this hardship, Annemarie, Mama, and Kirsti still find things to laugh about. They joke about how when Kirsti was younger, she would stay warm by sleeping in Mama and Papas bed and then sometimes, she would wet it.
Chapter 3 One of the buttons on Kirstis jacket breaks. Mama tells Annemarie and Kirsti to visit Mrs. Hirsch, the seamstress, after school to purchase a replacement. When the Johansens and Ellen get to Mrs. Hirschs store, however, it is closed. There is a sign in German and a thick padlock on the door. The girls wonder where
the Hirsches have gone. Little Kirsti wonders if they have gone on a vacation to the seashore, but Ellen and Annemarie can tell that something bad has happened to the family. Chapter 3 Mama is very worried when Annemarie tells her the reason they could not replace Kirstis button. That night, Mama
wakes up Annemarie after Kirsti is asleep and brings her into the living room to talk with Papa and Peter. It is very dangerous for Peter to be visiting the Johansens because there is a curfew that prevents Danes from going out at night. However, he has brought seashells for Annemarie and Kirsti and beer for Mama and Papa. Mama and Papa explain that Mrs. Hirschs shop is closed because the Germans have ordered the closure of all Jewish-owned businesses. Peter explains that the Germans have been tormenting the Jews in other countries for several years,
and now they are starting to do the same in Denmark. Chapter 3 Annemarie wonders what will happen to kind Mrs. Hirsch. Mama tells her that Mrs. Hirschs friends will take care of herjust like the Johansens might have to do for the Rosens.
Chapter 4 Annemarie and Ellen play with paper dolls in Annemaries apartment. They name the dolls after characters from Gone with the Wind, Mamas favorite book. When Mama and Kirsti get home, Kirsti throws a tantrum. Because of leather shortages, shoes are very hard to find.
Mama has found Kirsti a pair of shoes, but they are made of green fish skin and Kirsti refuses to wear them. Ellen solves the problem by offering to use her fathers ink to make the shoes black. Chapter 4 Kirsti joins the older girls and they pretend that the
paper dolls are going to Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens is a famous amusement park and garden in the heart of Copenhagen. It still exists today, although the Nazis burned part of it down in 1943 (which is when Number the Stars takes place). Annemarie remembers the Tivoli Gardens before the Germans invaded. She also recalls that the Danes bombed their own navy to prevent their German occupiers from using their ships. Kirsti, however, only has warm memories of the navy's destruction: Mama told Kirsti that the explosions were
fireworks in honor of her 5th birthday. Chapter 4 As Ellen is about to go home, she mentions that Thursday is the Jewish New Year. Ellen is very excited because her parents have managed to get a chicken for dinner that night. However, when Thursday comes, Mama announces that Ellen will be staying with the Johansens for a few days. She
claims that Mr. and Mrs. Rosen are visiting relatives. That night, Ellen and the Johansens eat the Rosens New Year chicken for dinner. After Kirsti goes to bed, Papa explains to Annemarie that the Germans have taken the membership lists from Copenhagens synagogues. The Germans are planning to arrest the countrys Jews and relocate them. Mr. and Mrs. Rosen have gone with Peter to a safe place. Ellen, meanwhile, will stay with the Johansens and pretend to be Annemaries sister.
Chapter 5 Ellen and Annemarie stay up late talking in Annemaries bedroom. They nervously wonder whether the Germans will come to see if the Rosens are hiding in Annemaries house. Ellen decides that anyone asks her, she will pretend to be Lise. The girls discuss the night Lise died. Annemarie does not know the details - all she remembers is that it was raining, and Lise was
with Peter when a car struck her in the middle of the night. Everyone cried, but Papa was very angry. The girls reassure each other that the Germans will never come for Ellen, and fall asleep. Chapter 5 A few hours later, three German officers pound on the front door. Annemarie cracks open her
bedroom door and watches as he talks to her parents. The German officer knows that the Johansens are friends with the Rosens, and therefore, he thinks that Mama and Papa must know where the Rosens are. Mama and Papa insist that they have no idea. The officer rudely demands to search the house and starts toward Annemaries bedroom, despite Mama's pleas to him not to wake the children.
Chapter 5 Annemarie realizes that Ellen is still wearing her gold Star of David necklace. She panics and instructs Ellen to take it off, but Ellen has never removed it before and cannot undo the clasp. Desperate, Annemarie rips the necklace off Ellen's neck and crumples it in her hand moments before the officers barge into the room. When the officers as the girls to identify themselves, Ellen
introduces herself as Lise. The head officer, however, notices that Ellen has dark hair, unlike the rest of the family. He asks why, and Papa quickly tears some photos from the family photo album. One of the photos is of Lise, who had dark hair as an infant. The officers finally accept Papas explanation and leave the apartment. Chapter 6
After the Gestapo leave, it is early in the morning and the girls cannot fall back asleep. Mama and Papa try to lighten the mood by talking about how Lise had dark hair when she was a babyalthough it eventually fell out before growing back blonde. Ellen apologizes for her dark hair, which she believes made the Germans suspicious. Mama reassures Ellen that her hair is beautiful and that none of this is her fault. The Johansens decide that Ellen should not go to school because the Germans might look for her there. Instead, Mama will take Annemarie, Kirsti, and Ellen
to visit Annemaries Uncle Henrik (Mama's brother). Uncle Henrik is a fisherman who lives on the north coast of Denmark, near Sweden. Chapter 6 Papa wants to bring the whole family Henrik's home, but Mama insists that if Papa skips work, he will make the Germans even
more suspicious. Later that day, Annemarie hears Papa speaking on the phone in code to Uncle Henrik. He tells Henrik that Mama is bringing him one carton of cigarettesthat is, one Jewish refugeetoday, but more will be coming. At this time, though, Annemarie does not yet fully understand the code. Chapter 6
The train ride to Uncle Henriks village is very beautiful, and Annemarie passes the time by pointing out the sights to Ellen. Suddenly, two German soldiers enter the car. They ask Mama where the family is going, and she explains that they are going to visit her brother. The soldiers seem to accept this and move on, but then one whirls around suddenly and asks if they are visiting her brother for the New Year. This is an attempt to trick the Johansens, because the Jewish New Year is in October but the Western
one is not until January. Mama does not fall for the trick she just acts confused. Kirsti nearly exposes them by mentioning Ellen's family's New Years tradition, but she catches herself at the last second and starts chattering about her new black shoes instead. Chapter 6 When they finally arrive in the
village, Mama and the girls walk the two miles to Uncle Henriks house via a forest path. As they walk, Mama tells stories about her own childhood in the village - she grew up in the house where Uncle Henrik lives now. Annemarie runs ahead to tell Uncle Henrik they have arrived. Chapter 7
Annemarie and Ellen play in the meadow near Uncle Henriks house. A gray kitten joins them. They also visit the beach, and Annemarie points the coast of Sweden out to her friend. Annemarie is surprised to learn that Ellen has never seen the ocean before, but Ellen explains that her mother is afraid of the ocean because it is so large and cold. Mama spots the girls and warns them not to talk
to anyone from the village. That night, she makes applesauce and Uncle Henrik fries some of the fish he caught. Annemarie and Ellen sleep together in the attic. Chapter 7 Ellen asks Annemarie what happened to her Star of David necklace. Annemarie explains that she hid it in
a safe place, and will return it to Ellen when it is safe for her friend to wear it again. Downstairs, Mama and Uncle Henrik talk. They have always been close and usually laugh together, but tonight they are very serious. Chapter 8
Annemarie gets up early to enjoy breakfast with Kirsti and Mama. They have oatmeal with cream from Uncle Henriks cowa luxurious breakfast compared to what they usually eat in Copenhagen. There is even a small bit of butter for the bread. The girls joke about the Germans relocating Denmarks butter to feed their own soldiers. When Ellen wakes up, she plays outside with Annemarie and Kirsti.
Chapter 8 Uncle Henrik returns home in the afternoon, and Mama teases him about his house, which is dusty and cluttered because he has no wife to clean up after him. Annemarie listens to Uncle Henrik and Mamas conversation, but she is very confused by what they are saying.
Uncle Henrik says he will spend that night on his fishing boat because tomorrow will be a good day for fishingbut Annemarie knows that Uncle Henrik goes fishing every day despite bad weather. Chapter 8 Annemarie becomes even more
confused when Uncle Henrik announces some sad news Annemaries Great-Aunt Birte has died. They will display her casket in Uncle Henriks living room the following night. Annemarie, who loves hearing stories about the family history, racks her brain, soon realizing that there is no Great-Aunt
Chapter 9 After dinner, Annemarie goes out to the barn alone to ask Uncle Henrik about Great-Aunt Birte. She is angry that he lied to her, but Uncle Henrik explains that he only lied because it will be easier for Annemarie to be brave if she does not know everything. At first, Annemarie does not understand this, but then she thinks back to the day that she and Ellen were stopped
by the German soldier on their way home from school. It would have been harder for Annemarie to answer the soldiers questions if she had known at the time that the Germans wanted to take the Jews away. After thinking about this, she realizes that Uncle Henrik and Mama are just trying to protect her. Chapter 9
That night, a hearse delivers Great-Aunt Birtes casket. Many strangers arrive soon after and sit silently in the living room. Mama tells the girls that these people have come to mourn GreatAunt Birte, but Annemarie knows this is not true. Ellen, on the other hand, still thinks Great-aunt Birte is a real person and is very sad that the Johansens have lost a relative. Annemarie wants to tell Ellen the truth, but she remembers what Uncle Henrik said and realizes that it will be easier for Ellen to be brave if she does not know.
Chapter 9 After a few hours, Uncle Henrik asks Ellen to come outside with him. A few minutes later, they come back inside with Peter Neilsen and Mr. and Mrs. Rosen.
Chapter 10 Once everyone has arrived, Uncle Henrik says that it is time for him to leave. He leaves through the front door. Shortly after that, a German soldier knocks and demands to know why so many people have gathered at the house. Mama explains that they are holding a vigil for her GreatAunt Birte. The officer notices that the casket is closed, even though it is Danish custom to keep the casket open to allow mourners to say good-bye to their loved one. The
soldier asks why the casket is closed, and Mama explains Great-Aunt Birte died of typhus and the doctors have warned them that the corpse could still be contagious. However, she offers to open it anyway if the officer wants to have a look. He slaps Mama and the soldiers leave. Chapter 10 Peter and Mama worry that the soldiers
are listening even after they have left the house. To keep up the pretense a funeral, Peter picks a random psalm from the Bible and reads it aloud. It is about the Lord reuniting the people of Israel and healing their wounds. Everyone listens solemnly. After a few minutes, Peter closes the Bible and tells everyone it is time to leave. Chapter 11
Peter opens "Great-Aunt Birte"s coffin, revealing that it is full of coats and blankets. He distributes them to the people in the room. He explains that they will need the extra layers because it is cold where they are going. One couple has a baby, but there is no infant-sized coat. Mama solves the problem by giving them Kirstis red sweater. When Peter sees that there is an infant, he gives the
baby girl a few drops of a drug so she wont cry. The girls mother is upset at this but reluctantly allows Peter to drug her child - they cannot take any risks. Chapter 11 As everyone gets ready to leave, Peter gives Mr. Rosen a packet to take to Uncle Henrik. He
explains that he will take the first group of people to the harbor, where Henrik will ferry them across to Sweden on a fishing boat. Twenty minutes later, Mama will do the same for the Rosens, and so on, until all of the refugees have reached safety. Annemarie notices that the Rosens look very different from how they did in Copenhagen dressed in rags, stripped of their jobs and their possessions. However, they still carry themselves with pride.
Chapter 12 At two-thirty in the morning, Mama leaves to escort the Rosens to the harbor. Each of the Rosens hugs Annemarie goodbye, and Ellen fiercely promises that she will come back one day. Now, Annemarie is all alone in Uncle Henriks house. She waits
anxiously for Mama to return, calculating how long it will take her to walk the winding path to the harbor. Although she is anxious, Annemarie eventually falls asleep. Chapter 12 When she wakes up, it is after four in the morning and the sun is starting to
rise. Annemarie looks all around the house but Mama still has not returned. She looks outside and sees Mama lying on the ground at the entryway to the path. Chapter 13 Annemarie rushes to the path to see what is
wrong with Mama. When she arrives, Mama explains that she tripped over a root on the way back from the harbor and has broken her ankle. Because she could not walk, it took her hours to drag herself up the path to the house. Annemarie helps her inside, and they decide that they will call a doctor and pretend Mama fell on the stairs. As they climb the stairs to the house, they notice a packet on the porch. Mama realizes that it is the packet Peter gave to Mr. Rosen.
Chapter 13 Although she does not tell Annemarie the contents of the packet, Mama explains that if Uncle Henrik does not get the packet, the Rosens cannot sail and all of the risks they have taken will be for nothing. Mama tells Annemarie to pack a lunch and deliver the
packet to Uncle Henrik down at the harbor. If anyone stops her, Annemarie is to pretend that her uncle forgot his lunch and she is delivering it to him. Chapter 14 Although the sun has started to rise, the forest is still very dark. As Annemarie rushes to the
harbor, she reminds herself of the story of Red Riding Hood, which she has told to Kirsti many times. Although she can hear animals scampering through the forest, Annemarie is not scaredshe has played here before in the daytime, and she knows there are no wolves. She also knows to avoid taking the road through town, where she will risk being stopped by soldiers.
Chapter 14 Annemarie continues down the path, with Red Riding Hood keeping her mind occupied and her fear in check. She is about to arrive at the harbor when suddenly, she runs into four German soldiers. They have two angry dogs that growl at Annemarie.
Chapter 15 Annemarie remembers Kirstis interaction with the German soldiers at the beginning of the novel. Kirsti, not understanding the danger the German soldiers posed, had chattered confidently. The soldiers let her go because they did not take her seriously. Annemarie knows she must do the same thing now. When the soldiers ask her what shes doing, she explains that shes bringing Uncle Henrik his
lunch. The German soldiers ask more questions. If Uncle Henrik forgot his lunch, why doesnt he eat fish? Why is there no meat in the basket? Annemarie answers each question rudely, just like Kirsti did when speaking with the Giraffe. The soldiers take each item out of the basket and throw it on the ground for their dogs to eat, and Annemarie behaves like a petulant child. Chapter 15
Just as Annemarie asks if she can leave, one soldier lifts the napkin and notices the precious packet hidden in the bottom of the basket. Annemarie panics, thinking the whole oper
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