Exposition: 1943, 10 year old Annmarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town.
Annemarie is told more about the war. Her parents and Peter explain that Jewish stores are being closed. The next day, the Rosens must leave. They leave Ellen with the Johansens.
During the night, German soldiers come to the apartment demanding that Mr. Johansen disclose the location of his friends.
The next day, Mrs. Johansen takes the three girls to her brother Henrik's home in Gilleleje, Denmark, where Henrik is a fisherman. They spend a fun day in the house by the ocean.
Ellen saying that her mother is afraid of the ocean because her mother thinks it is cold and cruel. Annemarie thinks that the night and the world are also cold and cruel. They depart in smaller groups to avoid attracting attention. Ellen says goodbye to Annemarie and her mother.
Two years later, the war in Europe ends, and all of Denmark celebrates. The Jews who were forced to leave Denmark will find that their friends and neighbors have kept up their apartments in hopes of their return. Peter had been captured and executed by the Nazis in the town square earlier in the war, after which Annemarie learned that her sister Lise died, not in an accident, but because the Nazis intentionally hit her with a military car: she was also in the Resistance. It is unknown whether Ellen or her parents return to Copenhagen.