Study Guide

Number the Stars Chapter 3

By Lois Lowry

Chapter 3

Where is Mrs. Hirsch?

  • A couple weeks go by and fall arrives. You know what that means: it starts getting colder. 
  • The Danes (i.e., people from Denmark) have to make do with very few resources. They're limited in how much fuel they can burn, and they can't turn on regular lights in the evening. (Think about that next time the power goes out!)
  • Annemarie and Kirsti are getting ready to go to school, and Annemarie gets all nostalgic with her mom about the sleeping arrangements they used to have.
  • Their mother sees that one of Kirsti's coat buttons has busted, so she tells Annemarie to go to the button store later that day and get a new one. (Ever been to a button store? Shmoop sure hasn't.) 
  • So when classes are finished, Annemarie, Ellen, and Kirsti head to the button store, which is run by Mrs. Hirsch. But they can't get in—the store's closed. Bummer.
  • As they head home, the girls try to figure out what has happened. The Hirsches are nice people.
  • Kirsti thinks they must have just taken a vacation, but Annemarie and Ellen know better.
  • When Annemarie tells her mother what happened, Mama gets really upset and leaves to find Ellen's mother.
  • That night, Annemarie's mom gets her out of bed because Peter has come to visit them. Technically, Peter's visit is against the law—people are supposed to stay at home at that time of night. These rules are starting to sound pretty strange.
  • Peter brought them all presents (seashells and beers) and more importantly, some news: the Germans are starting to treat Jewish people pretty badly. They're the ones who decreed that stores like the Hirsches' should be shut down.
  • Annemarie hadn't even realized the Hirsches were Jewish. And she sure doesn't understand why the Germans are punishing them. But her mom says that the Hirsches' friends will step up to help.
  • That's when Annemarie asks about her best friend Ellen's family, and her father tells her that they'll have to be very careful. 
  • Annemarie thinks of the bodyguard story her father told her and says that the Danes have to protect the Jews just like they would protect the king. Brave girl.
  • When Peter takes off, Annemarie tries to go back to sleep. But all she can think about is how the Danes will be required to protect all the Jews, not just the king.
  • It's a pretty scary thing to think about.