What Is the Conflict in the Book “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry?

The main conflict in “Number the Stars” is the Nazis occupying Denmark to capture and send Jews to concentration camps. Specifically, a conflict arises for the main characters when the Yohansen family risks their lives by taking in a young Jewish girl, Ellen Rosen, to protect her from the Nazis.

There are two climactic points in the novel that highlight the main conflict in “Number the Stars.” The first event occurs when soldiers search the Yohansen’s house looking for Ellen and her family. After the Nazi soldiers become suspicious of Ellen, Mr. Yohansen pretends she is his daughter, saving her life.

In the second climactic scene, Annemarie – the Yohansen’s daughter – is stopped by Nazi soldiers on her way to deliver a package to a man who is helping Jews escape to Sweden. After preventing the soldiers from discovering the content of the package, Annemarie narrowly avoids being detained.

In addition to these events, secondary conflicts arise from the Nazi occupation and the far-reaching effects of World War II. For example, several characters lose their jobs, homes and even their families while trying to escape being captured and sent to internment camps, or while helping Jews escape Denmark. On a personal level, Ellen struggles with the conflict of having to be brave while facing the threat of never seeing her family again.