Marks the beginning of the European outbreak of the Plague, which at the time killed somewhere between 75-200 million people, perhaps half of the entire European population
The year Mount Vesuvius, a volcano near Naples, erupted, obliterating the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and suddenly killing perhaps 10,000.
A pseudoscientific categorization of Northern European peoples; the Nazis argued that this race was superior to all others and would dominate the Earth
(German) Goodbye, literally "until we see again"
(German) Train station
(German) Excuse me; can also mean "you're welcome" or "please"
Dachau concentration camp
An infamous concentration camp where about 32,000 prisoners died in total; while Dachau was not an extermination camp per se, about 30,000 Jews were gassed there
(German) The German equivalent of "thank you very much"
Deutschland uber Alles
"Germany Above All," a line in the German national anthem and patriotic slogan
A German reference dictionary, first published in 1880, that is generally considered to be the standard of German spelling and pronunciation
(German) Stupid head
(German) Leader; exclusively refers to Adolf Hitler
The Nazi secret police, which was empowered to find and eliminate those accused of treason or hiding Jews
(German) God-damn it
The quality of being grotesque or morbid
(German) Hail; used as a Nazi salutation
(German) Heaven; also the name of the street the Hubermans live on
(German) High German, standard German speech (as opposed to Low German, which includes dialects and any non-standard speech)
(1913-1980) Black American athlete and record-breaking runner who achieved worldwide fame after winning four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin; Hitler was reportedly embarrassed by the victory of a black athlete, which served to counter Nazi propaganda claiming the superiority of the white "Aryan" race
A certain pub where Hans Hubermann plays the accordion for money
(German) Come; the form "kommst" means "coming"
(German) Communists; advocates of the communal ownership of property in a classless and stateless society, an ideal first described in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; the Soviet Union, with which Nazi Germany was at war from 1941 onward, was a nominally Communist nation, and German Communists were persecuted nearly as badly as the Jews by the Nazis
(German) "Crystal night"; a coordinated nationwide attack on all Jews in Germany involving lynchings and mob violence against Jews; so called because of the broken glass of shops owned by Jews
In a lovely manner
Luft Schutz Raum (LSR)
(German) Air-Raid Shelter
(German) Air-raid supervisor, generally charged with keeping order in a bomb shelter
(German) "My Struggle"; a book written by Adolf Hitler in which he outlines the views of the Nazi Party and ferociously attacks Jews
National Socialist German Workers' Party, the Nazi Party
(German) An insult meaning "pig"; the masculine form of "saumensch"
(German) An insult meaning "pig"; the feminine form of "saukarl"
(German) Hurry, as a command
A long, curved tool used to reap crops or cut down grass; popular depictions of Death usually include one
(German) Victory; when combined with "heil," a Nazi rallying call typically accompanied with the Nazi salute, which is the extension of one's right arm at a 45-degree angle, palm down
Similar to a scythe, an agricultural tool used to reap or mow; in contrast to a scythe, the blade of a sickle is a curved hook; some depictions of Death include one
(German) Understand, in the 2nd person
(German) A beating
The Book Thief Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Book Thief is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The character of Death is a personification of certain human traits that remain objective. Zusak needed Death to be accessible by readers, and yet, he needed it to be set apart at the same time. He uses Death as a curious "otherworld", an entity...