Number the Stars

by Lois Lowry

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What types of restrictions did the Danish live under while their country was occupied by German forces?

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Denmark faced a variety of changes when the Germans occupied their country.  Many changes were gradual.  As with other countries during this time, certain things were rationed, and others simply could not be purchased.  During the winter of 1942, there "was no fuel... for the homes and apartments in Copenhagen" and "electricity was rationed."  Cigarettes could no longer be purchased in the stores, and certain foods were unavailable.  These restrictions had a great impact on daily life.

After the Germans invaded Denmark, they did not seek to overthrow their government.  King Christian X retained his position, even though other invaded countries had become part of Nazi Germany.

Before the Nazi occupation, newspapers had enjoyed freedom of the press according to Danish laws.  After the occupation, Germans censored what the newspapers could publish.  

In 1943, there was a shift in German-Danish relations.  The Germans began to make demands and forced changes on the people of Denmark.  They banned assemblies and established a curfew, among other things.  

The Nazis began deporting Jews in 1943.  In Number the Stars, Ellen and her family fled Denmark to escape deportation to a Nazi work camp.  Many people in Denmark worked together to help thousands of Danish Jews escape before they could be deported.

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What types of restrictons did the Danish live under while their country was occupied by Nazi forces?

Like all nations that were overrun by the Nazis, the initial reaction to the Danes were that they were seen as enemies of the Reich.  Their willingness to collaborate with the Nazis became the defining element in their relationship with the German powers.  This meant that the restrictions placed on Jewish individuals as well as others deemed as "enemies" of the Reich were equally enforced in Denmark.  The setting of Lowry's story is this particular reality, where those who are Jewish have to find ways to outrun the growing influence of the Nazis.  At the same time, the absorption of Danish identity into that of the Nazis was another type of restriction placed on them as they were unable to express their own notion of political autonomy or sovereignty in place of the political expression of the Third Reich's notion of the good.

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