The Book Thief

Question for The Book Thief


Question for The Book Thief



Who is Hans and Max and Liesel?

Asked by
Last updated by Brent A #415820
Answers 1
Add Yours

Liesel Meminger

Introduced by Death as "The Book Thief," Liesel is nine at the beginning of the novel, when her younger brother dies and she is given up by her mother to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann in the small town of Molching. Liesel is traumatized by her brother's death, but Hans proves to be a calming foster father; with his help, she learns to read and soon finds comfort in the written word. Over the course of the novel, she befriends Max, the Jew who arrives to hide from the Nazis in the Hubermanns' basement, and falls in love with Rudy Steiner, her best friend. Ultimately, Liesel learns the power of words to influence humans to act towards both good and evil as she experiences the beauty and the brutality of humanity. Death describes her as a "perpetual survivor," and Liesel survives Hitler's reign while many of those whom she loves perish as a result of World War II and the Holocaust.

Max Vandenburg

A 23-year-old Jew who hides from the Nazis in the Hubermanns' basement. Max was a fist-fighter growing up, and as a teenager he resolves not to die without a fight. Max is wracked with anguish and guilt over leaving his family to save himself, but he comes to befriend Liesel as the two share their respective nightmares. Their friendship grows very deep, and Liesel reads to Max every night when he falls comatose. Max makes two books for Liesel, both of which involve thinly-veiled allegories about their friendship and Nazi Germany: an illustrated story called "The Standover Man," and a long book of sketches that includes the short story "The Word Shaker." Max leaves the house after Hans gives an old Jew being marched to a concentration camp a piece of bread in public. Liesel later sees him among such a procession, on his way to Dachau. Max survives the camp, however, and reunites with Liesel shortly after the war's end.

Hans Hubermann

Liesel's silver-eyed foster father. An amateur accordion player, Hans is a tall, gentle man with a remarkable amount of integrity and bravery -- Hans' compassion sets a strong example for Liesel, who is soothed by his presence. His life was saved by a Jew Erik Vandenberg in World War I, and he keeps his promise to Erik's widow by hiding her son Max from the Nazis. A skilled house painter by trade, Hans is horrified by the Nazis' persecution of the Jews, and he brings scrutiny to himself by painting over anti-Semitic slurs on Jewish-owned homes and businesses. Hans' impulsive kindness ultimately gets him in trouble, and he is conscripted to serve in a dangerous air raid recovery unit. Hans survives this assignment, but ultimately dies in the air raid that hits Molching at the end of the novel.