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Number the Stars | Study Guide

Lois Lowry

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Number the Stars | Chapter 16 : I Will Tell You Just a Little | Summary



Annemarie is with Uncle Henrik, her mother, and Kirsti. They all laugh that Annemarie has milked Blossom the cow without being kicked. A short time later, Uncle Henrik invites Annemarie to go to the barn for a milking lesson. He tells her that she was brave, and he explains the Rosens and others were hidden in the ship. She says she was not brave, but Uncle Henrik explains that bravery is when you don't think about the dangers but simply do what you must.

They talk about the Resistance movement, and Annemarie learns that Peter Neilsen is part of it. She is not surprised because he brings the secret newspaper to her parents. Henrik also explains the baby was drugged so she'd be quiet, and that because of the packet that Annemarie brought, they were all safe when the soldiers came. Henrik tells her that Peter, on behalf of the Resistance, has had doctors and scientists create a drug. "It attracts the dogs, but when they sniff at it, it ruins their sense of smell." These handkerchiefs are given to ship captains so they can use them to protect their human cargo. Annemarie realizes if she had not found the packet, the soldiers likely would have found the Rosens and the other Jews hidden on her uncle's ship. Uncle Henrik tells her that they are all safe in Sweden now.


Here, Uncle Henrik explains what the handkerchief was for, and in doing so, the reader will understand why the soldiers said they thought she had meat. The dogs reacted that way because of the chemical-laden handkerchief. He gives Annemarie, and thus the reader, answers to explain how and why her actions were so important. Because she brought him that scrap of cloth, because she faced the soldiers, because she ran through the dark woods, because she was brave, her friends and the people who had assembled at Henrik's house were safe. Ordinary people sometimes do things that seem small but have large consequences. Annemarie saved lives.

Her actions were not as routine or as risky as Peter Neilsen's. Her actions were a result of the moment she was in, and they were a result of her mother's injury. This novel, written for young people, tells a story from history, but it also makes the point that ordinary people sometimes do extraordinary things. Because of the actions of a lot of ordinary people in Denmark, thousands of lives were saved. Annemarie, Mrs. Johansen, Peter, Henrik, and others are fictional representations of the kind of people who really did save lives during World War II in Denmark.

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