Describe the town of mulching
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Himmel is a relatively poor street. Some of the neighbors include Rudy Steiner, one of six who lives next door to the Hubermanns; Frau Diller, a staunch Aryan cornershop owner; Tommy Muller, a twitchy kid suffering from ear infections; and Pfiffikus, a vulgar man. The neighborhood kids play soccer with garbage cans for goals, and Liesel is made to be goalie (replacing Tommy). Rudy confidently fires a shot, but Liesel blocks it; in response Rudy hits Liesel with a snowball.
Rudy is made to walk Liesel to school, and he takes a liking to her. He explains that Frau Diller is so committed to the Nazi Party that she refuses service to anyone who does not say "heil Hitler" upon entering her shop. They pass Rudy's father's tailor shop, then a street of broken, empty homes labeled with yellow Stars of David. At school, Rudy constantly seeks Liesel out despite others' comments on her supposed stupidity; Rudy is implied to be in love with Liesel. The two race the hundred meters and Rudy bets a kiss on it; they both slip before the finish, but Rudy says that one day Liesel will "be dying to kiss" him.
The small town of Molching and its cast of characters is the background of the novel, and the apparent quietness and stability of the town becomes steadily consumed by the political events surrounding the Nazis, the Holocaust, and World War II. Some instability is already evident: the broken shops and anti-Jew graffiti are signs of the Holocaust, and the Jews have already been terrorized and driven into concentration camps. Like the Jews, Liesel's father was persecuted and presumably killed or placed in a camp for being a Communist, and her mother gave Liesel up in part so Liesel could avoid the same fate.