Book thief part 10 summary

Book thief part 10 summary DEFAULT

Liesel and Werener are on a train.

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    The Book Thief Timeline

  • Liesel and her brother Werner are on a train to Molching to arrive at their new foster parents house. (pg 8)
  • While on the train, Werner begins coughing horrendously and dies. (pg 20)
  • Werner is buried right beside the train tracks when the train arrives in Molching. (pg 23)
  • At the burial site of Werner, Liesel finds a book on the ground, The Grave Digger's Handbook. Liesel steals this book to commemorate the loss of her brother. (pg 29)
  • Liesel is taken to the foster parents house, on Himmel Street in Molching, in a car. This was Liesel's first car ride. (pg 25)
  • Hans protects Liesel from Rosa's harsh words, and teaches Liesel to roll his cigarettes. (pg 33)
  • After two weeks of being at her new house, Liesel takes a bath. Rosa rewards her with a huge hug. (pg 35)
  • After taking her bath, Liesel is instruced to call Rosa and Hans by 'Mama' and 'Papa'. (pg 35)
  • Every night, for months, Liesel had a nightmare about her brother. Hans would come into her bedroom to comfort her. (pg 37)
  • For Liesel's birthday, she is given a used doll that was missing a leg and had yellow hair. This was the best that the Hubermann's could do. (pg 40)
  • Rudy Steiner and Liesel meet while playing soccer on Himmel Street. (pg 47) The two youngsters grow a friendship between them. Liesel and Rudy walk to school together each day. (pg 48)
  • On this day, Liesel's nightmares have been going on for months. Tonight, Liesel wets the bed. Papa comes and cleans the bed, but the book is kept in the bed, and he discovers the book.
  • After discovering 'The Grave Digger's Handbook', Hans asks Liesel if she wants to read it. She of course says yes. The midnight sessions beegin. Liesel wakes up from her nightmare, and then Hans reads with her. (pg 65)
  • When Liesel began school again, she was put in a class with kindergarten students. (pg 74)
  • When Liesel's classmates have to do a reading, Liesel gets skipped over because her teacher knows that she can't read. Liesel volunteers anyways, and humiliates herself. She can not actually read the passage, so says something that she had memorized from The Grave Digger's Handbook. This results in a Watchsen. (pg 77)
  • After the humiliating attempt to read, Ludwig Schmeikl and Tommy Müller bully Liesel. Liesel does not like being bullied, so she gets into fights with both of the two boys. Liesel wins both fights, but gets a very long Watschen. (pg 79)
  • This is roughly the time that part two begins.
  • On this night, Liesel had her nightmare about her brother. The midnight session begins. At around three o'clock in the morning, they finish reading The Grave Digger's Handbook. After the completion of the book, Liesel tells Papa what her brother's name was, Werner. (pg 87)
  • For Christmas, Liesel recieves two books from Papa. These books are called Faust the Dog, and The Lighthouse. Papa bought the books from a Gypsy. It cost eight cigarettes for each book. (pg 89)
  • On this day, Liesel accompanied Mama to collect the laundry. When they arrived at the first house, the man informed Mama that he no longer needed her to do his laundry because they could not afford it. (pg 91)
  • Once the first customer cancels having Mama do their laundry, Mama tells Liesel that Liesel will have to collect the laundry herself because people will not fire them if Liesel was the one the customers saw. (pg 92)
  • At school, the students begin to write letters. They must write to one friend, and somebody who is not in their class. Liesel chose to write to Rudy, and her Mama. But not Rosa, Liesel's real mother. (pg 95)
  • The Pfaffelhürvers give Liesel a letter with apologies to Mama. (pg 97)
  • This year, Liesel recieved no presents for her birthday. Mama was very angry becasue she had told Papa to save one of the books that he gave to Liesel at Christmas, but he gave Liesel both at Christmas. (pg 98).
  • After Liesel collected money for the laundry, she used some of it to mail the letters to her real Mama. Rosa noticed the missing money and asks Liesel what happened to it, and Liesel admitted that she had spent it. (pg 99)
  • During the visit of Hans Junior and Trudy, Hans Junior becomes frustrated, and leaves the house. He never returns. (pg 105)
  • To celebrate Hitller's birthday, there is a fire at the town square of Himmel Street. The residents burn books, magazines, anything that could burn.
  • After the fire, men were clearing away the ash. Liesel was watching, and when the men reduced the pile, Liesel noticed some unburned books. She managed to reach one of the books that she could see before the men ushered her away. (pg 120)
  • On the way home with Papa from the burning, Liesel revealed the book to Papa. (pg 125)
  • When Liesel stole The Shoulder Shrug, someone had seen her. She thought that it was the mayor's wife, Ilsa Hermann. She becomes afraid and reluctant to gather the laundry from the house of the mayor. (pg 132)
  • When Liesel goes to collect laundry without Rudy, Ilsa invites Liesel inside. Liesel is reluctant, but when Ilsa returns with a stack of books, Liesel walks inside, and Ilsa shows her to the library. (pg 133/134)
  • When Rudy and Liesel see Arthur Berg with an apple, they ask where he got it. They then join Arthur and his gang on a thieving trip to steal apples. (pg 152) After this excursion, they also collect potatoes and onions. (pg 161)
  • After observing Otto biking the same route for a month, every Friday, carrying a basket full of food to the church, Liesel and Rudy decided that Otto's basket would be an excellent target to steal. They created an ice patch on Otto's path, and when he hit it, he crashed his bike, allowing Rudy and Liesel to steal the basket. (pg 162/163)
  • Before Arhut Berg moves, Liesel and Rudy are given chestnuts by Arthur. They then eat one chestnut each, and sell the rest. Buying candy with the money they make. (pg 165/166)
  • On this day, Max boarded a train to seek the help of Hans Hubermann. (pg 157)
  • Max arrives at the door of 33 Himmel Street. He is feeling selfish for showing up at this house and asking them to risk their lives to save his. (pg 169)
  • Rosa feeds Max pea soup on the night of his arrival. He eats too much for his empty stomach to hold, and he gets sick. (pg 197/198)
  • After grabbing Liesel's arm after waking up, and scaring Liesel, Max promises to sleep iin the bsaement instead of in Liesel's room. (pg 206/207)
  • Liesel recieves another book, The Mud Men, from Mama and Papa for her birthday. Max says that he would have gotten something for her if he had known it was her birthday. (pg 221)
  • When Max had nothing to give to Liesel for her birthday, he took it upon himself to make her a book, about his own life. He called it The Standover Man, and gave it to her a week after her birthday, when it was complete. (pg 237)
  • Max tells Liesel about his day mares. Fighting against Hitler, the Führer. (pg 255)
  • On this day, Ilsa insists that Liesel takes the book that she has been reading in the library, The Whistler. Once Liesel finally agrees, Ilsa gives Liesel the bad news; an envelope to cancel Mama's service. (pg 259)
  • On her way home, Liesel became very angry at Ilsa. Liesel turned around and went back to the mayors house, and expressed her anger to Ilsa. She then gives The Whistler back to Ilsa. (pg 263)
  • After returning the book to Ilsa, and a craving for thievery, Liesel leads rudy to Grande Strasse, where the mayor's house is. After many unsuccessful visits, this time, the window in the library is open. Liesel takes the chance to steal back The Whistler. (pg 288)
  • When Rudy and Liesel were returning to their homes, Viktor and the stealing gang spotted Liesel and Rudy. Liesel had developed a habit of carrying The Whistler. When Viktor saw them, he came and snatched the book from Liesel. After Rudy trying to protest, Viktor threw the book into the river. (pg 302)
  • After chasing the book in the river along the riverside, Rudy jumped in to grab the book. He finally reaches it. (pg 303)
  • For the weather report on Christmas eve, Liesel brought in handfuls of snow for Max. The handfuls turned into buckets, and the snow turned into a snowman in the basement. (pg 313)
  • As a result of playing with the snow, Max falls terribly ill. (pg 313)
  • While Max is ill, Liesel visits him very often. The presents began with a flattened soccer ball, and in total, Liesel gave 13 presents. (pg 320-322)
  • Liesel and Rudy go on yet another stealing excursion to the mayor's library. Liesel steals The Dream Carrier on this excursion. (pg 327)
  • While Liesel is at school, Mama comes and 'gives her trouble' in the hallway. What she really tells Liesel is that Max finally woke up. (pg 333)
  • After bombings of other Germany towns, the NSDAP decide to prepare in case of an attack on Himmel Street. To do so, they need to check bbasements of houses for suitable air-raid shelters. When they check the basement at the Hubermann's house, they don't notice Max. (pg 339+345)
  • In order to add extra safety to Himmel Street, blinds were to be painted black so that at night, if a bombing were to occur, there would be no guidance as to where the homes were. Hans is a painter, so he and Liesel go to many houses to paint blinds. (pg 353)
  • For Hitler Youth, there was a track and field day. Every youth was expected to participate. Rudy did exceptionally well, placing first in three out of four events. The fourth race, he was disqualified. Liesel did not do quite so well. She didn't win a single medal. After the day, Rudy and Liesel are together, and Rudy leaves his gold medals for Liesel to have. (pg 362+364)
  • Liesel goes on her own to the library today, and steals the second book to her trilogy, A Song in the Dark. (pg 365)
  • To complete her trilogy, Liesel steals The Complete Duden Dictionary and Thesaurs. This book was resting against the window to the library. On the way home from stealing this book, a letter fell out, adressed to Liesel. She reads it and is surprised to see that it is from Ilsa. (pg 366+369)
  • Sirens signify a possible bombing attack. The sirens notify people to take cover in their designated air-raid shelter. This event turned out to be not a raid at all. This was the first night of hiding in air raid shelters for the Hubermann's and other residents of Himmel Street. (pg 371)
  • Liesel kept everyone in her air-raid shelter calm by reading to them. This was very successful, and they were safe before she could finish reading the chapter. (pg 382)
  • After Liesel's actions in the air-raid shelter, Holtzapfel asks Liesel if she would come and read to her. In exchange for the reading, Holtzapfel would stop spitting on the door, and would also give Liesel coffee. (pg 386/387)
  • On their way to a concentration camp, Dachau, Jews were marched as a parade through Himmel street. Meny people gathered on ther street to watch the parade. (pg 392)
  • During the parade of Jews, there was one Jew who was extremely weak and could barely walk. Hans was a very brave man, and gave this Jew a chunk of bread. The Jew was very grateful for Hans' actions, but Hans was whipped and beaten by a soldier. (pg 394)
  • After Hans' generosity, giving the bread to a Jew, nobody could be sure as to wether a Nazi member would come and give a thorough search to their house. FOr these reasons, they agreed that it would be safest for Max to leave. (pg 397)
  • Hans was expecting them to come sooner or later. AFter being so generous to a Jew, he was sure he would be taken and ordered to go to the war. When he was the men come, he showed them exactly where he lived. It was not Hans they came for, it was Rudy. (pg 403)
  • The purpose of the coat men going to speak to Rudy and his family was to take him away to a school. He was part of the aryan race. He was intelligent, athletic, and was German.Of course, the Steiners refused to sent Rudy with the coat men, and Alex Steiner recieves a whipping and beating for the refusal. (pg 419)
  • After Hans' incident with the Jew, the NSDAP finally accept him into the NSDAP. This was his punishment for his actions. (pg 417)
  • After his letter of acceptance to the NSDAP, Hans goes off to the war. (pg 423)
  • After their Papas leave, Liesel and Rudy go on an adventure tot find and kill the Fuhrer. They turn around when it begins to get dark. (pg 426)
  • In late November, Hans had his first taste of an actually raid.(pg 433)
  • There was a small parade of Jews on this day. Rudy brought two bikes and a small bag with 6 pieces of bread, broken into quarters. They biked ahead of the parade, and tossed the bread onto the road for the hungry Jews to collect. (pg 440)
  • For Christmas, Liesel takes Rudy shopping at the Steiner's shop. Liesel helps Rudy pick out a suit that he likes. Then Liesel gives him that suit for Christmas. (pg 454)
  • For Christmas, Mama gives Liesel Max's journal. This is what Max had told Liesel that she would get when she was ready for it. It was titled The Word Shaker.(pg 443)
  • Liesel steals cookies from the library. She also steals another book, The Last Human Stranger (pg 459+460)
  • When Liesel goes to Frau Holtzapfel's house to read, she is greeted by a man. This man, is Frau Holztapfel's son, Michael. He is here because his brother, Frau Holtzapfel's other son, died in the war, so Michael came to tell Frau Holtzapfel. (pg 465/466)
  • Liesel felt really bad about taking the cookies and the plate from the library. She decided to give the plate back. She brought the plate to the door, knocked, and ran away. After this action, Liesel never had nightmares again. (pg 472/473)
  • Hans and his troop were in their truck on their way to the camp. Hans had allowed another man to sit in his seat. That was a very lucky move for Hans, unlucky for the other man. One of the wheels was punctured, and the truck rolled. The man in Hans' seat died, but Hans suffered only a broken leg. (pg 476)
  • After the accident, Liesel and Mama recieved a letter from Papa. It explained what had happened, and stated that he was coming home, alive. (pg 179)
  • These two days brought Liesel to read fifty-four pages out of her books while in the air-raid shelter. (pg 488)
  • After the bombing of Munich was finished, a samll fire and smoke was noticed near the river. Rudy went to see what it was, and Liesel followed. When they reached the source of the smoke, a plane and pilot was discovered. The pilot was alive, barely. Rudy placed a teddy bear on the pilots shoulder, the man thanked Rudy, then took his last breath. (pg 490)
  • A day delayed, Papa arrived home safely, with only a broken leg. (pg 492)
  • He couldn't handle the pain anymore. He went to meet his brother, leaving behind his mother. (pg 504)
  • At the funeral, Liesel read to the people who were bereaved. (pg 506)
  • In a parade of Jews, Liesel spots Max! They have a chance to exchange a few words before a soldier notices Liesel and whips Liesel. (pg 511)
  • After the incident at the parade of Jews, Liesel tells Rudy about Max, and how he had been living in their basement. Liesel also shows Rudy The Word Shaker. (pg 517)
  • Liesel became angry one day while visiting the library, and she ruined one of the books. To apologize, Liesel wrote a letter, and in it she claimed that she would stop visiting the library. Ilsa goes to Liesel's house, and gives Liesel a black journal. Ilsa wanted Liesel to write her own story if she wasn't going to visit the library any longer. (pg 523)
  • This day marks the end of many lives on Himmel Street. To be more specific, everyone but Liesel dies. The sirens rang much to late for anyone to get to the air-raid shelters. Liesel was lucky. She was already in her own basement. Although it was not a designated air-raid shelter, it saved her life. (pg 498+529)
  • Since Liesel is the only survivor of the Himmel Street bombing, she says goodbye to all of her dead family and neighbours. She begins with Rudy. He finally gets his kiss. Next is Mama for she can't bear look at Papa yet. She told Mama some of the memories she had of Mama. Finally is Papa. She says goodbye to Papa by giving him his accordion, kissing his shoulder, and thanking him for all that he did for her. (pg 536-538)

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Overall Summary

Death is the narrator of this story, and he describes his first encounter with Liesel. The book thief stole his book called “The Grave Digger’s Handbook” from him but he doesn’t know how to read so he can’t use it. He also tells us about a time when she was riding on a train with her mother and brother Werner, who died in that same journey. When they got off the train, Death accompanied them to bury her brother at a cemetery in Molching where Liesel will eventually live with foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann.

Rosa is loud and insulting but Hans wins Liesel’s trust by being gentle, kind-hearted person who supports her all the way through life.

Liesel has nightmares of her dead brother, and Hans comforts her. She meets Rudy Steiner, who is obsessed with Jesse Owens. They become best friends. He constantly asks Liesel to kiss him, but she always refuses. Hans discovers that Liesel can’t read very well and gives her reading lessons in the basement. Meanwhile World War II begins, and there’s a book burning for Hitler’s birthday where Liesel steals a book from the fire.

Rosa is a maid for many wealthy people in town. She does the laundry for some of them, including the mayor’s wife, Ilsa Hermann. When Rosa delivers the washing to her house one day after a book burning, she invites Liesel inside and shows her books from all over the world and time periods. Liesel reads as much as she can when she visits there.

Meanwhile, a young Jewish boxer named Max Vandenburg hides in a storage room for weeks. A friend brings him an identity card hidden in a copy of Hitler’s book. He goes to Molching and finds the Hubermanns, who let him hide out in their house since Hans promised to help Max’s mother if she ever needed it. They share nightmares and soon become friends. Max paints over the pages of Mein Kampf (Hitler’s book) and writes The Standover Man for Liesel.

Ilsa Hermann quits her job and insults Liesel. Later, Rudy helps Liesel steal books from Ilsa’s library. Max gets sick and falls into a coma, but he recovers to the delight of everyone in the house. The Nazi Party checks the basement for its potential as a bomb shelter but doesn’t notice Max hiding there. Meanwhile, Ilsa leaves Liesel a note in one of the stolen books and Liesel realizes that she was letting her steal them all along. The war escalates and there is an air raid on Molching where they have to leave Max behind because it’s too dangerous for him to go outside with them during an air raid so they read out loud together inside their bomb shelter instead while bombs drop overhead above them until finally it ends after what felt like forever when everything goes quiet again then suddenly everybody comes running back upstairs laughing about how they thought Hitler had taken over or something crazy like that which would’ve been impossible anyway since we were winning by this point plus no way could anyone take over Germany without us knowing about it first which means we’re still safe so now everyone can go home because it’s time to sleep again except not yet though because nobody knows exactly when another attack might happen next time so better be prepared just in case if you know what I mean…

Rudy is drafted into the army and Liesel leaves bread for Jewish prisoners. Hans beats her when he finds out, so she runs away with Max’s sketchbook. She learns that words are powerful from The Word Shaker story.

In the army, Hans was assigned to a squad that cleaned up after bombings. However, his bus crashed and he broke his leg. As such, he was allowed to return home to heal. A pilot from the Allies crashes during another raid and Liesel watches him die as Rudy looks on. There are more parades of Jews in town, and one day Liesel sees Max among them. They find each other and both are whipped for it by the mayor’s men who caught them together. Liesel goes into the library where she rips up books in her frustration at not being able to help Max or any of those Jewish people being marched around town in their prison outfits with numbers on their arms like they were animals at a zoo or cattle headed for slaughterhouses.”

Allen Cheng

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The Book Thief

Novel by Markus Zusak

This article is about the novel. For the 2013 movie, see The Book Thief (film).

The Book Thief is a historicalnovel by the Australian author Markus Zusak, and is one of his most popular works.

Published in 2005, The Book Thief became an international bestseller and was translated into 63 languages and sold 16 million copies. It was adapted into the 2013 feature film, The Book Thief.

The novel is about the adventures of Liesel Meminger in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. By personifying "Death" as a tangible thing, the novel provides a fresh look into the world of the victims of the Holocaust.


Narrated by Death, a male voice who over the course of the book proves to be morose yet caring. The plot follows Liesel Meminger as she comes of age in Nazi Germany during the Second World War. After the death of her younger brother on a train to the fictional Himmel Street in the fictional town of Molching, Germany, on the outskirts of Munich, Liesel arrives at the home of her new foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, distraught and withdrawn. She meets a boy named Rudy Steiner in a football match and whenever she wins, Rudy throws a snowball smack in Liesel's face. Liesel starts to settle down into her new home and during her time there, she is exposed to the horrors of the Nazi regime, caught between the innocence of childhood and the maturity demanded by her destructive surroundings. As the political situation in Germany deteriorates, her foster parents conceal a Jewish man named Max Vandenburg. Hans, who has developed a close relationship with Liesel, teaches her to read, first in her bedroom, then in her basement. Recognizing the power of writing and sharing the written word, Liesel not only begins to steal books that the Nazi party is looking to destroy, but also writes her own story, and shares the power of language with Max. By collecting laundry for her foster mother, she also begins a relationship with the mayor's wife, Ilsa Hermann, who allows her to first read books in her library and steal them later.

One day, as a group of Jewish prisoners is led through town towards Dachau Concentration Camp, Hans offers one particularly weak man a piece of bread, drawing the ire of others in the town. Max leaves the Hubermanns' home soon after out of fear that Hans's act will draw suspicion on the Hubermann household and their activities. Eventually, as punishment for this act, Hans's long-withheld application to join the National Socialist German Workers' Party is approved and he is drafted into the army, cleaning up the aftermath of bombings on the German home front. Later, Liesel sees Max among a group of prisoners and joins him in the march, ignoring a soldier's order to step away and being whipped as punishment.

After Hans returns home, bombs fall on Liesel's street in Molching, killing all of her friends, family, and neighbors. Liesel, working on her manuscript in the basement at the time of the raid, is the sole survivor. The workers, searching for survivors and cleaning up the scene, take Liesel's manuscript along with the rubble, but Death saves it. Devastated, Liesel is taken in by the mayor, and his wife Ilsa Hermann and refuses to clean the ashes off herself until she walks into the river where her friend Rudy saved a book before, saying her final goodbyes to him. In 1945, Liesel works in the tailor shop owned by Rudy's father when Max enters. They have an emotional reunion.

Many years later, or in the words of Death, "just yesterday", Liesel dies as an old woman in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, with a family and many friends, but has never forgotten Hans, Rosa, Rudy, and her brother. When Death collects her soul, he gives her the manuscript she lost in the bombing. She asks him if he read it and Death says, "Yes." She asks him if he understood it, but Death is unable to understand the duality of humanity. Death's last words are for both Liesel and the reader: "I am haunted by humans."


Death, the collector of souls, arrayed in any or all the world's colors when it comes, narrates the story of a young girl coming of age during the horrific times of Nazi Germany and the Second World War. To the reader, Death insists that it "most definitely can be cheerful", even affable, but also relates that it most certainly cannot be nice. And sometimes Death is "compelled" to take action in sympathy with the human story.

Liesel Meminger
The protagonist of the story is an adopted girl on the verge of adolescence, with blonde hair. Her eyes, however, are brown. She is fostered by the Hubermanns after her biological father "abandons" their family due to being a Communist, her brother dies, and her mother is forced to send her to a foster home to avoid Nazi persecution. Liesel is the "book thief" referred to in the title because Liesel is fascinated by the power of words. Liesel stole books from a gravedigger, a bonfire, and the mayor's wife, Ilsa Herman.

Hans Hubermann (Papa)
Liesel's foster father and husband of Rosa, Hans is a former German soldier during the First World War, accordion player, and painter. He develops a close and loving relationship with Liesel and becomes the main source of strength and support for her. He, like Liesel, doesn't have much experience with reading. Together, the two help each other with reading and write all the words they learn on a wall in the basement. He helps Max because Max's father saved Hans in the First World War.

Rosa Hubermann (Mama)
Rosa is Liesel's sharp-tongued foster mother. She has a "wardrobe" build and a displeased face, brown-grey tightly-cinched hair often tied up in a bun and "chlorinated" eyes. Despite her temper, she is a loving wife to Hans and mother to Liesel. To supplement the household income, she does washing and ironing for five of the wealthier households in Molching. When she was introduced to Max the reader sees her soft side.

Rudy Steiner
Liesel's neighbor, Rudy, has bony legs, blue eyes, lemon-colored hair, and a penchant for getting in the middle of situations when he shouldn't. Despite having the appearance of an archetypal German, he does not directly support the Nazis. As a member of a relatively poor household with six children, Rudy is habitually hungry. He is known throughout the neighborhood because of the "Jesse Owens incident", in which he colored himself black with charcoal one night and ran one hundred meters at the local sports field. He is academically and athletically gifted, which attracts the attention of Nazi Party officials, leading to attempted recruitment. His lack of support for the Nazi party becomes problematic as the story progresses. Rudy becomes Liesel's best friend and later falls in love with her.

Max Vandenburg
A Jewish fist-fighter who takes refuge from the Nazi regime in the Hubermann's basement. He is the son of a First World War German soldier who fought alongside Hans Hubermann, and the two developed a close friendship during the war. He has brown, feather-like hair and swampy brown eyes. During the Nazi reign of terror, Hans agrees to shelter Max and hide him from the Nazi party. During his stay at the Hubermanns' house, Max befriends Liesel, because of their shared affinity for words. He writes two books for her and presents her with a sketchbook that contains his life story, which helps Liesel to develop as a writer and reader, which, in turn, saves her life from the bombs falling on her.[1]

Ilsa Hermann
The wife of the mayor of Molching who employs Rosa Hubermann. She did fall into a state of depression after the death of her only son in the Great War. Ilsa allows Liesel to visit, read, and steal books in her personal library. She also gives Liesel a little black book, which leads Liesel to write her own story, "The Book Thief".[1]

Werner Meminger
Liesel's little brother, who unfortunately died suddenly on the train with his mother and sister, was transported to their foster parents. His death is what allowed the first book to be stolen, a gravedigger's manual dropped by a young boy learning to work in the cemetery. He died by coughing blood, corroded brown in color.[1]

Paula Meminger (Liesel's Mother)
Liesel's mother is only mentioned in the story a few times. Liesel's father was taken away by the Nazis before the novel starting because he was a Communist, and the reason her mother – Paula Meminger - was taking both her children to foster care was to save them from Nazi persecution. For a while, Liesel writes letters to her mother thinking there is a chance she is still alive. Like Liesel's father, Liesel's mother dies, but Liesel eventually does realize her mother gave her away to protect her.[1]

Hans Jr (Hans' and Rosa's son)
Hans Jr is the son of Hans and Rosa Huberman. He is very supportive of the Nazi party and fights with his father about it frequently.[1]



The book is introduced by the character/narrator Death, which underlines that mortality is very present in the lives of each character. Throughout the novel, the deaths of prominent characters reaffirm the presence of mortality. Because the novel takes place during the Second World War, death and genocide are nearly omnipresent in the novel.

Death is presented in a manner that is less distant and threatening. Because Death narrates and explains the reasons behind each character's destruction and explains how he feels that he must take the life of each character, Death is given a sense of care rather than fear. At one point, Death states "even death has a heart," which reaffirms that there is a care present in the concept of death and dying.[2]

Language, reading and writing[edit]

Throughout the novel, language, reading, and writing are presented as symbolic elements of expression and freedom. They provide identity and personal liberation to those characters who have, or who gain, the power of literacy: "the true power of words". And they provide a framework for Liesel's coming of age. At the beginning of the story shortly after her brother's funeral, Liesel finds a book in the snow, one she is unable to read. Under tutelage by her foster father Hans, she slowly learns to read and write. By the end of the novel, her character arc is largely defined by her progress in reading and writing. The development of Liesel's literacy mirrors her physical growth and maturing over the course of the story.

Literacy skills and vernacular speech also serve as social markers. Wealthy citizens in the story are often portrayed as literate, as owning books and even their own libraries, while the poor are illiterate and do not own books. Rosa Huberman's abrasive and oft-times scatological speech towards her family and others is emblematic of the despairing lives of the poorer classes.

The Nazi burning of books in the story represents evil incarnate. Symbolically, Liesel's repeated rescues of books from Nazi bonfires represent her reclaiming of freedom and her resistance to being controlled by the all-pervasive state.[2]


In the midst of the damage that war, death, and loss have caused Liesel and the other characters in the book, love is seen as an agent of change and freedom as love is the only way of forming a family where the real sovereign[clarification needed] exists. Liesel overcomes her traumas by learning to love and be loved by her foster family and her friends. At the beginning of the novel, Liesel is traumatized not only by the death of her brother and her separation from her only family but also by the larger issues of war-torn Germany and the destruction wrought by the Nazi party. As Liesel's foster father Hans develops a relationship with her, this relationship helps create healing and growth. This pattern is reflected in the relational dynamic between the Hubermann family and Max. In a society ruled by governmental policies that presume to stand in judgment of who is truly human, the Hubermanns' relationship with Max defies the Nazi regime. Further, the love that Max and Liesel develop through their friendship creates a strong contrast to the fascist hate in the backdrop of the story.

The theme of love also intertwines with the themes of identity and language/reading because all of these themes have the purpose of providing freedom and power in the midst of chaos and control.[2]


Film adaptation[edit]

Main article: The Book Thief (film)

A film adaptation was released on 8 November 2013.[6] It was directed by Brian Percival. Michael Petroni wrote the script. It stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as Hans and Rosa Hubermann, Ben Schnetzer as Max Vandenburg, Nico Liersch as Rudy Steiner and Sophie Nélisse as Liesel Meminger. John Williams wrote the music soundtrack.[7] Much of the movie was filmed in Görlitz, Germany.


External links[edit]

The Book Thief: Part Ten- Confessions

LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Book Thief, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Death Theme Icon
Words and Language Theme Icon
Books Theme Icon
Stealing and Giving Theme Icon
Color, Beauty, and Ugliness Theme Icon

Color, Beauty, and Ugliness

There is another parade of Jews down Munich Street, and again Liesel looks for Max. This time she sees him, as he also searches the crowd for Liesel. Liesel feels her heart break and she steps out into the road, calling for Max. They find each other and Max tells her he was caught on his way to Stuttgart.

In one way it is reassuring to know that Max is still alive, but tragic that the Nazis have captured him, and he has now become one of the suffering prisoners paraded to a concentration camp (where few survive).

A soldier sees Liesel and drags her away from Max, throwing her to the ground. Liesel gets up and then returns from a different direction. She finds Max again and quotes The Word Shaker to him. The world seems to stop, and Max kisses Liesel's hand and looks up at the bright blue sky. Then he is whipped again until he falls to the ground, and the soldier whips Liesel several times. Rudy finds her and helps her away, while the rest of the crowd watches in shock.

One of the novel's most beautiful moments – Liesel gives Max strength and comfort in his suffering by quoting his own words to him, words which describe a safe haven for the two friends in a tree made of compassionate language. Max also takes in the colors of the sky at this moment – once again there is beauty in the face of pain.

Max is dragged on with the rest of the prisoners and Liesel tries to follow him again, but Rudy tackles her and pins her to the ground. She cries and punches him, but then they lay there together as the rest of the crowd disperses.

Liesel's anger at the injustice of the world returns, and she still tries to physically lash out, just like Rudy wanting to kill Hitler or Max wanting to punch Death.


10 book thief summary part

Book thief part 10


Death describes the bombing of Himmel Street to take place at the end of this part. Everyone dies sleeping except for Liesel, who is awake in the Hubermann’s basement at the time of the raid. A rescue crew finds her clutching a book and asks why she was in the basement, as the air raid sirens failed to go off in time.


After a week at home, Hans begins his simple office assignment in Munich. Three months later in Molching, Jews are marched through town on their way to perform forced clean-up work. Liesel again watches to see if Max is among them; Death explains that Max soon will be. Michael Holtzapfel commits suicide due to his guilt over surviving where his brother died.


Michael Holtzapfel’s funeral takes place in July. The Allies bomb Hamburg, killing 45,000. Death remarks that the Germans "were starting to pay in earnest," and that despite Germany’s military setbacks, Hitler had not been slackening off "in terms of war-making" and the extermination of the Jews.


Another batch of Jews is marched through town on their way to Dachau. Max is among them, and Liesel recognizes him by the way he scans the crowd of Germans looking for her. Liesel runs into the procession and latches onto Max. He tells her that he was captured a few months ago, halfway to Stuttgart. Max warns Liesel to let go of him, but she continues to walk with him. A soldier drags her away and throws her off. Liesel gets up and returns to Max; she mentions "The Word Shaker" and "The Standover Man." He stops walking, as do the rest of the Jews. They embrace, and Max is whipped while Liesel is dragged away again. Liesel is whipped as well, and Rudy in the crowd calls out to her as Max is forced off. Rudy and Tommy Muller pull Liesel away. Liesel tries to go after the disappearing procession, but Rudy restrains her, and she fights him.


Liesel sullenly waits for Hans at the train station. Hans and Rosa learn about what happened; Hans tries to play the accordion that evening but cannot. Liesel stays in bed for three days. On the fourth day, she walks with Rudy down the road toward Dachau. She explains everything about Max to him. She shows Rudy the drawing of him Max made. Rudy is surprised she told Max about him; inwardly Liesel wants Rudy to kiss her and realizes that she loves him. Rudy will die in one month.


Liesel heads to Ilsa Hermann’s home, thinking a visit might cheer her up. She enters through a window and begins reading a book on the floor of Ilsa’s library. Liesel does not know or care whether Ilsa is home; she contemplates all the people she has seen die and pictures Hitler’s words at the center of it. She does not want to hope for Max and Alex Steiner anymore, "because the world does not deserve them." She rips up the book she was reading and says out loud, "What good are the words?" "Without words, the Fuhrer was nothing." She calls out Ilsa’s name, but gets no response. Liesel writes a letter to Ilsa, in which she apologizes for destroying a book and says she will never return to punish herself.

Three days later, Ilsa arrives at Liesel’s home. Ilsa tells her that, based on the letter, she can write well and gives her a blank book of lined paper; she asks Liesel not to punish herself, as Ilsa did over the death of her son. Liesel invites Ilsa in for coffee and bread. That night, Liesel goes down to the basement and begins writing a story titled The Book Thief.


Liesel writes eleven pages of the story of her life, starting with her brother’s death. Every night, Liesel goes down to the basement to write. Ten nights later, Liesel is asleep in the basement and doesn’t hear the air raid siren; Hans wakes her to go to the shelter. On October 2, Liesel has finished.


Death describes the bombing of Himmel Street. The sirens are too late. The first bomb hits Tommy Muller’s apartment block; he and his family are asleep. Frau Holtzapfel is sitting awake in her kitchen. Frau Diller is asleep; her shop is destroyed, and her framed photo of Hitler is smashed. The Steiners are all asleep, and Rudy is in a bed with one of his sisters; Death recognizes him as the boy who gave the pilot a teddy bear. Death observes Rudy’s soul and sees him pretending to be Jesse Owens, retrieving a book from the icy river, and imagining a kiss from Liesel; he makes Death cry. At last, Death takes Hans and Rosa. Hans’ soul sits up and meets Death, passively ready to go; Hans’ soul whispers Liesel’s name, knowing that she is in the basement.

Death travels to other streets, but returns to Himmel for a single man. Death notices the recovery crew laughing and curiously watches. The crew pulls Liesel out; she panics and runs down her destroyed street. The crew informs her that her town has been bombed, and she tells them that they must get Hans, Rosa, and Max. Still holding her book, Liesel collapses to the ground, and a man seats her. She sees a worker carrying Hans’ broken accordion case and offers to take it. Liesel drops the accordion when she sees the corpses laid out on the street. She sees Frau Holtzapfel first, then Rudy. She begs Rudy to wake up, then kisses him on the lips.

Liesel then sees Rosa and Hans. Crying, she tells Rosa’s body about the day she arrived on Himmel Street, how Rosa informed her about Max waking up, and that she knew Rosa would sit with Hans’ accordion. Liesel asks a worker for the accordion, and she places it by Hans’ body. She envisions Hans rise and play the accordion beautifully, a cigarette hanging from his lips. She says goodbye to him.

The Book Thief is thrown onto a garbage truck along with other rubble. Death climbs onto the truck and takes it.


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The Book Thief Quotes

"It's just a small story really, about, among other things:

*A girl

*Some words

*An accordionist

*Some fanatical Germans

*A Jewish fist fighter

*And quite a lot of thievery" (Death, Death and Chocolate, p. 5)

This is the basic outline of the story as given to the reader by Death. Death is the narrator of the book and the book is seen entirely from the perspective of Death. He is telling us here the book is about Liesel, her books, Hans, Erik and their shared accordion, the Nazis, Max- Erik's son, and the books Liesel steals. The rest of the book is spent explaining these subjects.

"The book thief had struck for the first time-the beginning of an illustrious career." (Death, Arrival on Himmel Street, p. 29)

Liesel has stolen her first book. To be truthful the book had fallen to the ground and she picked it up. It was entitled The Grave Digger's Handbook and belonged to the apprentice grave digger who helped dig her brother's grave. Liesel just picked it up when she saw it sticking out of the snow. She had no idea what the book was about, because she at this point in her life, could not read. It is this book which bonds her and Hans together for the rest of their lives. This book is also the start of her life of crime as a book thief.

"One of them, the infamous Rudy, would soon become Liesel's best friend, and later, her partner and sometime catalyst in crime." (Death, The Kiss, p. 47)

Rudy was one of six children in the Steiner family, who lived next door to Rosa and Hans Hubermann. Rudy and Liesel became friends after Liesel blocked Rudy's penalty shot during a soccer game. He retaliated by throwing a snowball in her face and the rest is history. They became inseparable, especially when they joined a gang of boys who were stealing fruit and vegetables from local farmers. Rudy even helped her as she stole books from the mayor's library. Rudy was smart and athletic, but he had a rebellious streak which got him into trouble. Rudy was also a ruthlessly loyal friend.

"You wouldn't think it, she wrote, "but it was not so much the school who helped me to read. It was Papa." (Liesel, The Other Side of Sandpaper, p. 64)

Liesel wrote the story of her life in the book titled The Book Thief. It is here she admits the late night sessions, in which Papa would write letters and words on pieces of sandpaper, did more to help her learn to read than all the lessons she had in school. She was forever in Papa's debt for teaching her to read, because it opened up a whole new world to her. It allowed her to enrich, her and those around her, lives forever.

"If I ever ask you to keep a secret for me, you will do it." (Hans Hubermann, The Way Home, p. 127)

By this time in the story, Hans knew Max would be coming to stay at the Hubermann home. He had to be sure Liesel would keep the secret so the whole family and Max would be safe. Liesel did not let Hans down, because she would never do anything to endanger her Mama and Papa. She by this time had come to love them both.

"A Jew had once saved his life and he couldn't forget that." (Death, The Accordionist (The Secret Life of Hans Hubermann), p.180)

This is an explanation of why Hans was reluctant to join the Nazi Party and join in with the others in his town in the ill treatment of its Jewish citizens. He owed his life to Erik Vandenburg, a German Jew, who did not care what religion his friend Hans practiced. Erik and Hans were friends and that was all that mattered to them. The fact that Erik, unknowingly, saved Hans' life added another item, to the list of objections he had towards the Nazi Party. He owed Erik to not forget him or what he had done for him. He also owed Erik's son and he would do everything he could to help save Max.

"Thank you."

"Those for Max Vandenburg, those were the two most pitiful words he could possibly say, rivaled only by I'm sorry." (Death, Max Vandenburg, The Swapping of Nightmares, p. 208)

Max feels guilty for putting the Hubermann family in jeopardy of being seized by the authorities, only his desire to live out weighed his guilt. This is why despite wanting to leave he stays in the basement, because he knows what awaits him if he leaves. He carries with him the guilt of leaving his family behind in Stuttgart and the guilt of jeopardizing Hans, Rosa and Liesel. So the only way he can express these emotions to them is to say thank you and I'm sorry.

"Where Hans Hubermann and Erik Vandenburg were ultimately united by music, Max and Liesel were held together by the quiet gathering of words." (Death, The Gamblers (A Seven-Sided Die), p. 248)

Hans and Erik were drawn together, during the uncertainty of World War I, by the music of the accordion. It made their friendship stronger and kept Erik alive for Hans every time he played Erik's instrument. In this same way, Max and Liesel shared a love of words, which too drew them together in friendship, during the horror of World War II. This bond was unbroken by the book Max left for Liesel, after he had to leave the Hubermann household. They never forgot one another and were fortunately reunited after the war.

"Goodbye, Papa, you saved me. You taught me to read. No one can play like you. I'll never drink champagne. No one can play like you." (Liesel Meminger, The End of the World (Part II), pp. 538-539)

Liesel is saying goodbye to her father, Hans may be her foster father, but to her he was her father. She has found his body next to Rosa on the street after the bombing. She can only thank him for all that he has done to make her life filled with love and words. She knows love and words can make her life filled with joy and satisfaction. It is sad and yet right, that she is able to get the chance to one last time thank him, for all he has done for her.

"I am haunted by humans." (Death, The Handover Man, p. 550)

This is the last note from Death. He has given back Liesel's book to her and she is with her family and friends once again.

Death is constantly being followed by the souls he has taken. He doesn't always understand humans, but they are constantly in his thoughts. He does know he will always have more souls to take and this bothers him, because he cannot stand to see the suffering of those left behind to grieve.


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