Why, when his sister and his nieces were visiting, would Uncle Henrik spend the whole night on his boat?  

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Uncle Henrik is just one of many Danes who helps Jews escape from the Nazis' genocidal tyranny. As a fisherman, Henrik regularly spends time in his boat, and so it provides an ideal cover for his attempts to smuggle Jews to safety. Henrik goes out to fish at all hours...

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Uncle Henrik is just one of many Danes who helps Jews escape from the Nazis' genocidal tyranny. As a fisherman, Henrik regularly spends time in his boat, and so it provides an ideal cover for his attempts to smuggle Jews to safety. Henrik goes out to fish at all hours of the day and night, so he won't arouse much suspicion by regularly heading out to sea. He smuggles his human cargo to neutral Sweden, which is a relatively short distance away. There, Danish Jews will be safe from the evil clutches of their Nazi persecutors.

Uncle Henrik's actions are brave in the extreme. If he's caught smuggling Jews to safety, he'll almost certainly be shot by the Germans. But Henrik is very modest about his role, telling Annemarie that it's easier to be brave when you don't know everything. In other words, if you're unaware of all the dangers involved, you won't feel as frightened or as stressed.

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Uncle Henrik spent the night on his boat so that he could help the Rosen family and several other Jews escape from Denmark. Uncle Henrik left early to go to his boat while everyone else remained at his house. They pretended to mourn the loss of an aunt. This funeral was staged in order to explain why a large group of people (including the Jews who were trying to escape) had gathered at Uncle Henrik's house. After soldiers came to investigate the gathering, Peter and Mama led the group to the water in order to board Uncle Henrik's fishing boat. He planned to lead them to freedom in Sweden across the water. When they dropped an important package by mistake, Annemarie ran down to the water to give it to Uncle Henrik. Then he left with the small group on the boat to Sweden. 

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