A unique perspective on the Holocaust
The story of a nation coming together to help the Jews avoid the camps.
Steamer No.10 Theatre’s CAST program has produced the award-winning children’s story centered around adult themes. “Number the Stars” takes a unique perspective from many of the stories about the Holocaust – this is a story about avoiding the camps.
The play is based on a fictional story written by Lois Lowry about the escape of a Jewish family from Copenhagen during World War II. Annemarie Johansen (played by Lauren Wicks) becomes a part of the events related to the rescue of the Danish Jews avoiding relocation to concentration camps. She risks her life in order to help her best friend, Ellen Rosen (Sivan Adler), by pretending that Ellen is Annemarie’s late, older sister.
Annemarie Johansen and Ellen Rosen play carefree games in the streets of Copenhagen, until the Nazi occupation of their city becomes increasingly more evident. As the Nazis attempt to relocate the Jewish residents of Denmark, Annemarie and the Johansen’s take a stand and help Ellen’s family escape to Sweden. Winner of the Newbery Medal Number the Stars uses history to remind us that anyone can be a hero.
Lowry’s novel was awarded the 1990 John Newbery Medal as “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The award is presented annually by the Association of Library Service to Children.
APRIL 9, 1940
GERMANY INVADES DENMARK
OCTOBER 2, 1943
SWEDEN OFFERS ASYLUM TO JEWS OF DENMARK
The Swedish government offers asylum to some 7,000 Jews in Denmark. At the end of September 1943, the German plan to arrest and deport Danish Jews is leaked to Danish authorities who warn the Jewish population in Denmark and urge them to go into hiding. In response, the Danish underground and general population spontaneously organizes a nationwide effort to smuggle Jews to the coast where Danish fisherman ferry them to Sweden. In little more than three weeks, the Danes ferry more than 7,000 Jews and close to 700 of their non-Jewish relatives to Sweden. Despite the Danish efforts, some 500 Jews are arrested by the Germans and deported to Theresienstadt ghetto.
JUNE 23, 1944
DANISH DELEGATION VISITS THERESIENSTADT
A Danish delegation joins representatives of the International Red Cross on a visit to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Bohemia. To deceive both these visitors and world opinion about Nazi treatment of the Jews, the SS beautifies the ghetto and creates the impression that Theresienstadt is a self-governing Jewish settlement. Unlike other prisoners in Theresienstadt, the 500 Danish prisoners there are not deported to concentration camps and are permitted to receive parcels from the Red Cross. On April 15, 1945, the Danish prisoners are released from the ghetto into the hands of the Swedish Red Cross. This is a result of negotiations between Swedish government representatives and Nazi officials in which Scandinavian prisoners in camps, including Jews, are transferred to a holding camp in northern Germany. These prisoners are eventually sent to Sweden where they stay until the end of the war. Out of the some 500 Danish Jews deported, about 450 survive.
MAY, 8, 1945
THE WAR IN EUROPE ENDED