Number The Stars
(Grade 5 and up)
[Historical Context of Number the Stars]
Number the Stars takes place at the height of World War II, though it only ever obliquely references the machinations of the Holocaust—the genocide which systematically murdered over six million European Jews between 1941 and 1945. Annemarie’s friend Ellen is Jewish, and she and her family come under threat of being “relocated” by the Nazi officers stationed all throughout Copenhagen—but what threats await them should they be captured are never fully explained to Annemarie, or to the reader. In reality, the Nazi party enacted a campaign in Germany and in each European country they occupied, beginning in 1933, to exclude Jews from civil society, segregate them in ghettos, and eventually ferry them to concentration and extermination camps where they were worked, starved, gassed, and burned to death. Other Nazi targets included Slavs, Roma, political dissenters and opponents of the Nazi party, gay men and women, and the mentally and physically disabled.