We are going to read the book ”Number the stars”. It is a book that takes place in Denmark during WWII, and among other things tells us the story about how Jewish people were smuggled in to Sweden and therefor saved from death- or work camps. But why is the book called ”Number the stars”?
Well, Jews are sometimes referred to as the sons/daughters of Abraham. In a bible passage, God tells Abraham that he will have so many children, he won’t even be able to number them (just like there are so many stars, it’s impossible to number them). In another passage it says: He (God) determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
It’s a heartbreaking title for the book, because as we know, about two thirds of the entire Jewish population of Europe were killed in the WWII Holocaust. In some countries, over 95% of the Jewish population were murdered.
What had once seemed like an impossible task (counting the number of Abraham’s children/Jews), sadly became devastatingly easy. Because so many Jews were killed, counting them was no longer an impossible task. In short, one could ”number the stars.”
Through the eyes of Annemarie, a 10 year old girl, we see the Danish Resistance as they manage to smuggle almost the entire Jewish population, nearly 7000 people, across the sea to Sweden. It is 1943, and to Annemarie Johansen, life in Copenhagen is a complicated mix of ordinary home and school life, food shortages, and the constant presence of Nazi soldiers. This is a tale of an entire nation’s heroism and human decency.
I have divided the reading into 4 parts, each with an intro, individual and pair exercises. You can both read and listen to the book, and I hope you will do a little of both. Let´s go!