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Art's mother, Anja, killed herself in 1968, and Vladek is now remarried to a woman named Mala, herself a survivor. The couple does not get along, and there does not appear to be much love in their relationship. Vladek, constantly fearful that Mala will steal his money, is intensely stingy and treats his wife like little more than a maid. I'm not sure why Vladek remarked. I suppose like most people , he may have been afraid of being alone. He also seems to need someone to take care of him.