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In the Afterword, the author explains that her book is a novel inspired by real events, including the histories of her friend Annelise and a Resistance fighter named Kim Malthe-Bruun.
Many of the events discussed in the book really happened. Here are some examples: the King riding around Denmark by himself; the young boy saying that all of Denmark would guard the King; the Danish military destroying their own ships; the local rabbis warning Jews of the coming danger from the Nazis; and even the use of altered handkerchiefs to ward off Nazi dogs.
The author explains that "almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark—nearly seven thousand people—was smuggled across the sea to Sweden" (Afterword.11).
The author shares the story of Malthe-Bruun, who remained hopeful even up to his execution by the Nazis, and recommends that people today must keep working on his dream to "create an ideal of human decency" (Afterword.19).