The Book Thief
The Book Thief Chapter 78 Summary
The Ninety-Eighth Day
- Hans has been home for 97 days and everything is OK for Liesel.
- Things change on the 98th day.
- A few days before this, another procession of Jews comes through Molching.
- This time they are coming from the death-camp Dachau, on their way to do some clean-up that was too awful even for the LSE men.
- They proceed through the town on their way back that evening.
- Max is not among them, but in August, he will be.
- When he comes he'll be looking for Liesel, and she will be looking for him.
- Before this, on the 98th day, Liesel is looking for him, too.
- On July 24, something bad happens.
- Death comes to Himmel Street for Michael Holtzapfel, who hangs himself at around six in the morning on July 27, 1943.
- Death doesn't see Liesel on this day.
- Death is very busy right now and doesn't have time to stay on Himmel Street.
- Death doesn't see Frau Holtzapfel collapse in despair on the street.
- But, Death reads about these things in a few months, in a book called The Book Thief.
- In this book, Death reads that Michael kills himself because he feels guilty for being alive.
- Liesel will learn that Michael had stopped sleeping.
- He leaves a note, apologizing to his mother. He loves her, but needs to be with his dead brother Robert.
- Hans is the person who tells Frau Holtzapfel about Michael. It's about six months after Robert's death.
- After she gets the news, she runs up Himmel Street, crying, until she can't move anymore and sits in the street.
- Hans sits down next to her and holds her hand while she screams.
- Later, he walks her gently home.