College of Arts and Sciences
Holocaust, Denmark, Jewish history
Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | European History | Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Neilson, Larisa C., "The Stars Kept Shining: The Wartime Diary of Esther Mathilda Sørensen" (2021). Senior Honors Theses. 1109.
In fulfillment of the Liberty University Honors Department Thesis requirement, the following is a creative thesis in the form of an historical fiction novella diary, written in the first person. The story follows the life of Esther, a young Danish woman, as she navigates what it means to be a Jew in World War II era Europe. Though the characters are fictional, the story presents possible real-life experiences for a person living during this time.
The style of this novella is popular among middle and high school teachers and can be an important teaching tool as it is an engaging way for students to learn about a period in history. The diary form lends a real-life and personal feel which is relatable to children of similar ages.
The experience of Jews in Denmark during the Holocaust is unlike any other of the European countries. Denmark had a very small Jewish community, approximately 8,000 at the start of the war, and roughly 99% of them survived. While the majority of European Jews perished during the years of 1939-1945, the gravity of the situation in Denmark is remarkable. Even though Denmark is considered to have collaborated with the Nazi regime, they resisted in many ways, not least in her work in saving almost her entire Jewish population.