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Many of the German soldiers are experiencing their own hell. Like Hans, they don't want to be fighting. These soldiers don't like being separated from their families, nor do they enjoy the oppressive conditions forced upon them. Let us also not forget that by this point in the war, the Germans are suffering heavy casualties. Take, for example, the scene in the army hospital. Battle of Stalingrad. Liesel lights a cigarette for him. Michael informs Rosa that his brother died in a makeshift hospital; he also tells her that he heard Hans Junior is alive there.
Death explains how Michael's brother Robert died: on a freezing cold January day in Russia, Robert's legs were blown off. He was brought to the temporary hospital and died three days later, his brother at his side. At Frau Holtzapfel's home, Liesel reads to Michael and his crying mother.
The Book Thief