The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is one of the great untold stories of World War II. On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained and then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish resistance, population, and police arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. Lois Lowry brings the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggle Ellen’s family out of the country.
This is a delightful story about courage, hope, and humanity. Unlike The Diary of Anne Frank, which is as beautiful and poignant as it is tragic, this story is told through the eyes of a young, sheltered Danish girl; it is simple in its approach, and has a happy ending, which is a nice touch for younger readers. There are casualties, as in any war, which I think is important to touch on, but the main characters are spared. The reason this story did not earn 5 stars is due to the fact that it starts out a bit slow and may lose the interest of young readers before they get to the “good stuff”.