I remember like it was yesterday, when my literature teacher announced that for that term, we would be reading a book set 1943 in a Denmark full of Nazis where the antisemitic manifestations where arriving to the country. That book, had a great impact in the way I saw life. The words of Lowry shocked me, inspired me. Recently, I decided to re-read the book, and I felt like it was my duty to disseminate this book to everyone i could.
As I mentioned before, the story sets in Denmark, during the Nazi ocupation. The book follows blonde and tall 10 year old girl, Annemarie Johansen who lives with her parents and her 5 year old sister, Kirsty in an apartment in the center of Copenhagen. Her best friend, and neighbour, Ellen was also a short ten year old girl with curly black hair who came from a Jewish family. When the Nazi’s suddenly start to “relocate” Jews, Annemarie has to bring all the corauge and braveness inside her to protect her friend.
What’s important about this book, like Lowry mentioned in the afterword, is that Annemarie Johansen might be fictional. But that little girl, with so much hope and courage existed. What we see as a story, is reality. These characters represent real people, people who believed in a better world. They belied that every human being deserved to live and gave up everything for people they didn’t know, but who they knew deserved dignity and who they thought were equals.
That’s why you should read this book, because these things that we are taught at school that seemed to have happened a million years ago, it’s actually pretty recent, and we must make sure that it won’t happen again.
Finally, I wanted to write about a boy, who was a canadian by blood but danish at heart, who fought in the Danish resistance and tried to do everything he could to help people he didn’t know. He was so young, and so determinated and hopefull. He believed in human decency. His name was Kim Malthe Bruum, Loury inspired a character in the book from him. He was executed by the nazis in Ryvangen, Denmark.
He was just 21 years old, and in his last night, in his cell, he wrote this letter to his mum: