Like why would Zuszak bring in a character at the end just to kill him off.
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One of Frau Holtzapfel's sons, Michael served in the German Army in the Battle of Stalingrad, where his hand was severely wounded. At a makeshift hospital, he sees his brother Robert die. He returns home and later commits suicide, unable to live with the guilt of having lived while his brother died. I think this is one of the reasons Frau Holtzapfel takes a liking to Liesel. Liesel reminded her of him.