Why do they put a boy and girl into a cupboard in the Daniel's Story by Carol Matas?

They put a boy and a girl into a cupboard in Daniel’s Story by Carol Matas to hide them from the Nazis. This is in response to the terrible news that the Nazis are planning to round up all children under the age of ten and all old people.

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The chairman of the ghetto makes the terrible announcement that the Germans are planning to round up all children under the age of ten and all old people and send them away. It’s perfectly clear to everyone what this means; the young and the old will be sent to their...

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deaths in a concentration camp. The others will be allowed to live, for now—but only as slave laborers for the Nazis.

While Daniel contemplates the problem of surviving, his mother and father figure out how best to protect the children in their household from being grabbed and taken away by the Germans. Eventually, they agree to hide Erika, Daniel’s sister, and Friedrich, Daniel’s orphaned cousin, in the cupboard. It’s a very small, cramped space, and everyone’s concerned about the very real danger that the children might suffocate.

But under the circumstances, there’s really not much choice; this might be the only way of saving their lives. Daniel’s mother and father know full well what will happen to Erika and Friedrich if they are discovered by the Germans, but it’s a risk worth taking if it means they have a chance, no matter how small, of surviving until the end of this terrible war.

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In Daniel's Story, why did they put a boy and girl into a cupboard?

In Daniel's Story, a boy and girl are put in the cupboard after the chairman of the Lodz ghetto announces: "All children under ten and all old people were to be sent away." As Daniel's Story is set in the Holocaust, we know that "sent away" means murdered.

Though this wasn't crystal clear to everyone at the time, the extent of the Nazis’ killing made it hard to keep what they were doing a secret. As Daniel himself relays to us: "There were rumors that those who were deported were taken to a place called Chelmno, where they were killed."

Facing the prospect that some of their family will be murdered, Daniel's family convenes a "family meeting," where they try to sort through the possible scenarios: Who's stronger? Who's weaker? Who's more likely to stand out and be selected?

The family settles on Friedrich and Erika. Both are "small and skinny." To shield them from the Nazis, Friedrich and Erika hide in the cupboard. To make the hiding spot harder to notice, they remove the cupboard handle and put a bed in front of it.

When the Nazi secret police come and Daniel's family goes outside, Friedrich and Erika remain in the cupboard. There's worries that they'll suffocate, but, as you know from having read it, they don't.

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