How did the Nazis occupation change people's lives in Copenhagen?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the interesting elements that Lowry brings out is how the people of Copenhagen had to make fundamental choices that defined who they are under Nazi occupation.  The Danes were not intended targets of the Nazis.  When areas like Copenhagen were occupied, people who lived there had to decide the path their lives would take in terms of being collaborators, bystanders, or active agents against the Nazis.  The situation was thrust upon them, and yet, Lowry makes clear the choices that needed to be made as a result of them.  Annemarie must choose in much the same way.  Recognizing the sacrifice of her sister's resistance, she acts in a manner that helps Ellen and her family.  The citizens of Copenhagen were forced to make decisions and take actions that would impact the lives of the Nazi targets.  For example, the Johansen family takes in Ellen, seeking to present her as their daughter.  They could have chosen to be silent or divulge that she is Jewish.  Yet, the choices they make are ones of resistance, defining who they are.  In this, the Nazi occupation can be seen as a reality in which those who lived in occupied Copenhagen had to make deliberate and distinct choices that defined who they were and how they would be perceived by the Nazis.


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