In Number the Stars, what are some code phrases the characters use? What does Papa mean when he says "Is the weather is good for fishing?"

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Annemarie's Papa and uncle speak in code when referring to Ellen and her family, as well as other Jews.  Uncle Henrik helps Jews escape to Sweden on his fishing boat.  With the help of Papa, Mama, and Annemarie, Ellen and her family are able to escape, too.

One day, Annemarie overhears her father speaking on the phone to her uncle.  Her father's end of the conversation puzzles her.  Papa asks Uncle Henrik if "the weather is good for fishing" (Number the Stars, Chapter 6).  He asks this to see if it is a good time to bring Jews across to Sweden.

Then Papa tells Uncle Henrik that Mama and the girls will bring cigarettes to him.  He also states that there are many cigarettes in Copenhagen.  This is especially puzzling to Annemarie, as cigarettes are no longer available in the stores in Copenhagen.  Cigarettes is code for Jews.  Papa tells Uncle Henrik that there are still many Jews in Copenhagen.  Papa mentions there being one cigarette.  This is code for Ellen.