Death says that everybody in Nazi Germany gets some kind of punishment.
Those who survive are punished with "poverty and guilt when the war is over and six million discoveries were made throughout Europe" (63.1).
(Six million is the generally accepted number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. Other groups and individuals considered 'different' were also targeted, including Gypsies, homosexual people, and disabled people.)
Hans wants to be punished.
His punishment: the approval of his application to the Nazi party, and his conscription into the German Army.
Liesel's hand tremble as she reads the words on the letter informing him.
Later Liesel will wonder how many other men, like Hans and like Rudy's father, got letters like this.
It shows that Germany is desperate, running out of soldiers.
Later she will look at the sky and describe it to an imaginary Max Vandenburg.
A week later, Alex Steiner gets a letter like Hans's.