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Most of The Book Thief takes place in the small, and fictional, town of Molching, just outside of non-fictional Munich, Germany. Molching is on the way to the concentration camp Dachau (which the novel does not enter). Himmel Street, where the Hubermanns and Steiners live, is where much of the action takes place. "Himmel," Death informs us, translates to "heaven":
Whoever named Himmel Street has a healthy sense of irony. Not that it was a living hell. It wasn't. But it sure wasn't heaven, either. (5.87)
Yet, because of the acts of kindness occurring inside 33 Himmel Street, the Hubermann home, and because of the tenderness of Rudy and Liesel's friendship, there is something heavenly about Himmel Street.
Other important action takes place on Munich Street, the main street in town. It is on Munich Street that Rudy is beaten by Franz Deutscher, the sadistic Hitler Youth leader, and it is on Munich Street that Liesel and Max are reunited when he's being made to march to Dachau. This is a clue that the city of Munich is very important to the setting of the story, and we'll talk about this city in a moment. First, here's a run through of some of the times and places covered in the novel.