Study Guide

Number the Stars Chapter 5

By Lois Lowry

Chapter 5

Who is the Dark-Haired One?

  • The two older girls hang out in Annemarie's room while they're getting ready for bed. Ellen is worried, but Annemarie tries to reassure her. Tough gig.
  • They talk about Ellen's interest in acting and Ellen says that, if the soldiers come, she will definitely get a chance to do some major acting. 
  • They're able to joke and calm down a little, but the vibe for the night is still a little out of whack. The girls end up talking about Lise and how she passed away.
  • Annemarie doesn't know the precise details, just that it was an accident involving a car. She thinks of how angry her parents were, and Ellen thinks of how hard it rained. (It's never easy to talk about death.)
  • Once they're in bed, Annemarie points out Lise's trousseau, and Ellen worries about dying young. This is some deep stuff for a kid to have to deal with, don't you think?
  • Annemarie reassures her one more time, and Ellen finally falls asleep. In fact, Annemarie feels pretty comforted in her house, too. She manages to fall asleep without worrying that any soldiers are going to come.
  • But the soldiers do come—in the middle of the night. 
  • Annemarie's parents answer the door and try to put the soldiers off. They're looking for Ellen's family and insist on coming in to search for them.
  • Talk about scary.
  • In the nick of time, Annemarie realizes that Ellen's Star of David necklace will give her away as Jewish. But Ellen panics and can't undo it, so Annemarie rips it right off her and clasps it in her hand.
  • The soldiers make the girls come out to the living room and say their names. Ellen lies and says she's Lise Johansen.
  • The soldiers don't buy it: they accuse Ellen of not belonging to their family because she's a brunette and they're all blondes.
  • Annemarie's father thinks quickly, goes to a photo book, and rips out some pictures for the Germans. Annemarie knows exactly what they are: baby pictures of her, Kirsti, and Lise. The pictures had text at the bottom, too, with each baby's name and date of birth. Her father ripped them so the dates wouldn't show.
  • Luckily, when Lise was a baby she had black hair. So her baby picture looks likely enough to be a match for Ellen. Phew.
  • The lead soldier is really upset and tears up the picture before leaving.
  • Once they're gone, Annemarie finally lets go of Ellen's Star of David necklace.