Summary Part Seven: The Complete Duden Dictionary and Thesaurus
Summary of “Champagne and Accordions” and “The Trilogy”
Molching is preparing shelters, aware that as a town outside Munich, they could be hit by bombs. Hans is getting work painting windows black. Hans works for free for poor people. Liesel goes with him on his jobs, and he tells her stories about his life. The summer of 1942 is one of the happiest, because she is with Papa. She mixes the paint for him. On breaks, he plays the accordion. At one house, they are given champagne.
That summer Rudy practices his running. He vows to win in the competition in August to prove something to Franz Deutscher. He wins three medals and is known now as a gifted student and athlete. Poised to win a fourth medal, Rudy purposely disqualifies himself and does not explain it to Liesel.
Liesel finishes The Dream Carrier and goes to the mayor's mansion to steal another book. This time it is A Song in the Dark. A further book comes to her because the mayor's wife purposely leaves a dictionary next to the window, and when Liesel takes it, she waves to Liesel as she rides away on her bike.
Commentary on “Champagne and Accordions” and “The Trilogy”
The mayor's wife, Ilsa, leaves a letter in the dictionary to Liesel trying to make up. She tells Liesel to come in the front door next time. We never find out why Rudy disqualified himself from the last race. Perhaps he had proven his point and wanted to quit while he was ahead.
Summary of “The Sound of Sirens” and “The Sky Stealer”
In the fall, the sirens begin at night, and everyone has to go to an air-raid shelter. They have to leave Max to his fate at home. Everyone is afraid. Max enjoys the raids because he comes up from the basement to look out on the starry night. Liesel reads to the people in the shelter to keep them quiet.
Commentary on “The Sound of Sirens” and “The Sky Stealer”
Death says he feels sorry for the Germans in the cellars, but not as sorry as for the Jews. The Germans at least have a chance. It is a stunning fact that six million Jews died, and six million Germans died. It doesn't appear anyone wins, except Death.
Summary of “Frau Holtzapfel's Offer” and “The Long Walk to Dachau”
No one dies in the raid, but several buildings are destroyed. Frau Holtzapfel knocks on the Hubermanns' door and asks to have Liesel come to her house and read to her. She will give her coffee ration. Frau Holtzapfel is afraid, being alone. Her two sons are in the army in Russia.
A convoy of trucks on the way to Dachau with Jews breaks down, and the prisoners are forced to walk the last miles there through Molching. The people line up to watch. Hans Hubermann gives a piece of bread to a starving Jew who falls in the road. The man holds on to Hans and cries. A soldier whips the Jew and then Hans Hubermann. The crowd begins calling Hans a Jew lover. Hans is horrified by what he has done as Liesel helps him home.
Commentary on “Frau Holtzapfel's Offer” and “The Long Walk to Dachau”
Hans realizes he has made a mistake by trying to help the Jew. He will draw attention to himself and his house, endangering Max and his family. The narrator mentions that though the Jew was not allowed to eat the bread Hans gave him, he would die like a human because someone took pity on him. This incident also points out that Hans is one German who remains a human being with feeling instead of giving in to propaganda and fear.
Summary of “Peace” and “The Idiot and the Coat Men”
Max Vandenburg leaves Himmel Street that night with a suitcase of food and warm clothes. Max told Liesel that he left her a gift that she would receive when ready. Max walks in the dark towards Munich. At a bridge on the Amper River, he is supposed to meet Hans four days later to see if it is safe to come back. When Hans goes there four days later, he only finds Max's note: “You've done enough” (p. 398).
Hans waits for the police to come and take him away, but they do not come. He feels devastated about Max having to leave. Liesel begins praying for Max. Finally, the Gestapo come but not for Hans. They come for Rudy Steiner to enroll him in the elite Nazi training.
Commentary on “Peace” and “The Idiot and the Coat Men”
Hans is a simple man of kindness, and so he does not think when he offers the Jew bread. He does what is right according to human sympathy. Yet, because Max had to leave to be safe, Hans continues to blame himself for making a mistake. All of the good characters are eaten up with guilt, as though they are to blame for this war and suffering. The Gestapo come for Rudy because he has demonstrated outstanding ability in both his studies and in athletics. This is remarkable since he is a poor and starving boy.