Number the Stars

Number the Stars Summary and Analysis of Chapters 11-13

Chapter 11


Peter opens "Great-Aunt Birte"s coffin, revealing that it is full of coats and blankets. He distributes them to the people in the room. He explains that they will need the extra layers because it is cold where they are going. One couple has a baby, but there is no infant-sized coat. Mama solves the problem by giving them Kirsti’s red sweater. When Peter sees that there is an infant, he gives the baby girl a few drops of a drug so she won’t cry. The girl’s mother is upset at this but reluctantly allows Peter to drug her child - they cannot take any risks.

As everyone gets ready to leave, Peter gives Mr. Rosen a packet to take to Uncle Henrik. He explains that he will take the first group of people to the harbor, where Henrik will ferry them across to Sweden on a fishing boat. Twenty minutes later, Mama will do the same for the Rosens, and so on, until all of the refugees have reached safety. Annemarie notices that the Rosens look very different from how they did in Copenhagen––dressed in rags, stripped of their jobs and their possessions. However, they still carry themselves with pride.


The tense moment between Peter and the mother of the baby reveals some important lessons about teamwork. The mother does not want Peter to give her baby daughter a sedative. However, Peter insists that the drugs are necessary to prevent the baby from crying. He knows that if the baby makes noise during an inspection, all of the refugees’ lives will be in danger. Although it might appear that that Peter is being rude to the young mother, he is actually taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the group.

Towards the end of the chapter, Annemarie notices that despite everything the Rosens have gone through, they still carry themselves with pride. In Copenhagen, it seemed like the Rosens’s pride came from material things, like their candles, their jobs, and their apartment. However, they still manage to keep their pride even after the Germans have taken all of this away. Through the Rosens, Annemarie learns that dignity comes from a person’s own beliefs and sense of self—not from material possessions or achievements.

Chapter 12


At two-thirty in the morning, Mama leaves to escort the Rosens to the harbor. Each of the Rosens hugs Annemarie goodbye, and Ellen fiercely promises that she will come back one day. Now, Annemarie is all alone in Uncle Henrik’s house. She waits anxiously for Mama to return, calculating how long it will take her to walk the winding path to the harbor. Although she is anxious, Annemarie eventually falls asleep.

When she wakes up, it is after four in the morning and the sun is starting to rise. Annemarie looks all around the house but Mama still has not returned. She looks outside and sees Mama lying on the ground at the entryway to the path.


This chapter further illustrates how Annemarie’s dangerous circumstances have transformed her into a more mature person almost overnight. When she first faced the German soldiers in Chapter 1, Annemarie was primarily concerned about her own safety. Although she loved Ellen and Kirsti, in the moment she was mainly concerned about how to respond to the German soldiers’ questions. In Chapter 12, though, she completely forgets about her own safety in order to protect Mama.

The fact that Annemarie can sense that Mama is in danger also shows her growing awareness of the situation around her. Young children often believe that their parents are invincible, but Annemarie’s courageous decision to save her mother shows that she has grown out of this belief. The moment between Annemarie and her mother is also marks a development for both characters. Until this point, Mama has been trying to protect Annemarie, but after Mama hurts herself, she needs to rely on Annemarie to help her to safety.

Chapter 13

Annemarie rushes to the path to see what is wrong with Mama. When she arrives, Mama explains that she tripped over a root on the way back from the harbor and has broken her ankle. Because she could not walk, it took her hours to drag herself up the path to the house. Annemarie helps her inside, and they decide that they will call a doctor and pretend Mama fell on the stairs. As they climb the stairs to the house, they notice a packet on the porch. Mama realizes that it is the packet Peter gave to Mr. Rosen.

Although she does not tell Annemarie the contents of the packet, Mama explains that if Uncle Henrik does not get the packet, the Rosens cannot sail and all of the risks they have taken will be for nothing. Mama tells Annemarie to pack a lunch and deliver the packet to Uncle Henrik down at the harbor. If anyone stops her, Annemarie is to pretend that her uncle forgot his lunch and she is delivering it to him.


In Chapter 13, Lowry shows readers that even though the danger seems to be over, Mama and Annemarie must still be careful what they tell each other. Mama knows that telling Annemarie the contents of the packet would put her in unnecessary danger, so she tells Annemarie only what she needs to know to save the Rosens. Similarly, Mama endures the pain of her broken ankle instead of calling for help immediately. She knows that if the village doctor finds out what she was doing, she will put the Rosens and the other refugees in danger.

Throughout the novel, Mama has been reluctant to involve Annemarie in the rescue plan. She knows that the Germans will not show Annemarie mercy just because she is young. However, she is ultimately forced to make Annemarie part of the mission when the Rosens’ lives are in danger. Like Peter, Mama demonstrates what it means to sacrifice for the greater good. Although she loves her daughter as much as anyone in the world, Mama is willing to put her at risk if it means saving the lives of many people. However, Mama also knows that Annemarie is strong and brave. She has faith in her daughter, and has watched her mature over the past few days. Mama would like her children to have peaceful childhoods like she did, but in this moment of desperation, she is forced to give up that fantasy.