The Book Thief

Why Max created the stand over man for Liesel? What was significant about the materials he used to make the book?


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Max uses pages he has cut out from the book Mein Kampf to make The Standover Man for Liesel. He paints the pages white and then records the story of his life.

Max's fighting streak and defiant attitude contrast with the sickly, hiding person he has become in the Hubermanmn's basement. Max, who has resolved not to die without a fight, feels deep shame for the fact that he survives while his family has likely died. Yet Max's very existence and will to survive represents defiance against Hitler's racial extermination policies. Hans cleverly subverts Nazism by using a copy of Hitler's book Mein Kampf -- the very wellspring of Nazi ideology -- to assist in hiding a Jew. Max briefly considers giving the book, his only possession, to Liesel for her birthday, but likens that to a lamb handing a knife to a butcher. Instead Max also subverts Nazism by physically whitewashing the pages of Mein Kampf and painting an entirely different story over them. The text of Mein Kampf, riveted with attacks on the Jewish race, peeks through under a story about the friendship between a hidden Jew and a German girl.