There are many acts of bravery in this book. Give an example of an act of bravery. Why does it stand out to you as brave?
When Joseph Balicki escapes he is hidden by a couple who will be punished severely if he is found on their property. Hiding a prisoner was punishable by anything from imprisonment to death by firing squad, and there was also always a threat of the Germans burning down a home. By helping Joseph and hiding him they saved his life at considerable threat to their own.
How do you think Jan came to be alone on the streets of Warsaw?
Jan is a very angry and aggressive boy who thinks with his fists and who has clearly been surviving on the streets long enough to learn how to be a very successful thief. He has a very bad reaction to any soldier but specifically to German soldiers so it is likely that his parents were taken away by German soldiers, especially since he does not like any German people at all. As no family is traced after the war ends the probability is that his parents were killed, possibly before his eyes.
What does the silver sword represent to each of the characters?
To Joseph Balicki the sword represents a cherished memory of when he received it as a gift from his wife and it now represents identification so that his children will know Jan really met him and that the message he gave him was genuine. To Jan it is a good luck charm and he fears that without it they will not safely make it to Switzerland. To Ruth it represents hope and the fact that her father escaped from the Germans, hope that they will all be reunited and faith in the fact that they will reach Switzerland in safety.
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