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The Book Thief

The Book Thief


by Markus Zusak

 Table of Contents

The Book Thief Characters

Meet the Cast

Liesel Meminger

Liesel Meminger is the hardworking, book-thieving, kind-hearted star of the novel. She loves books so much, she steals them. Even before she knows how to read! Like many of us, Liesel doesn't have...

Rudy Steiner

Rudy is Liesel's lemon-sunshine-haired sidekick. He's the Saukerl (pig boy) to her Saumensch (pig girl), as they affectionately refer to each other. He starts off in the novel as a ten-year-old boy...

Max Vandenburg

The Jewish Fist FighterMax is only 22 years old when he enters the story as "the struggler" (Chapters 23, 26, 28). At first his age is a bit surprising, because he almost seems like an old man. Lat...

Hans Hubermann

Hans is Liesel's foster father and one of the great loves of her life. He's a super nice guy. Early in the novel, this is how Death describes him:To most people, Hans Hubermann [is] barely visible....

Rosa Hubermann

Rosa is Liesel's foster mother. When we first meet her, we don't necessarily trust her with Liesel. We're nervous. And let's face it, Rosa is down-right abusive with her wooden spoons and her const...


Death and HumanityDeath is our guide and narrator to The Book Thief. Interestingly, he in some ways seems pretty human. For example, he has real feelings. We see him experience both sadne...

Frau Ilsa Hermann

Ilsa Herman becomes a very important figure in Liesel's life. Through much of the novel she remains a mysterious figure, fond of Nazi bathrobes and matching slippers. Later we learn that Ilsa is in...

Werner Meminger

Werner is Liesel's little brother. He dies on the train when their mother is taking them to their foster parents, the Hubermanns. We don't know much about his relationship with Liesel before he die...

Paula Meminger

We know very little about Liesel's mother, except that she's a very tragic figure. She loses her husband and both of her children before disappearing herself.

Liesel's Father

We know next to nothing about Liesel's father. Liesel has no memories of him, but has heard he was a communist. The German Communist Party (KPD) was a legitimate political party in Germany when Hit...

Erik Vandenburg

Erik is Max's father. He died around the same time Max was born, in 1916, in France, during World War I. While in France, Erik became friends with Hans Hubermann. He taught Hans to play the accordi...

Max's Mother

We know little about Max's mother other than that she eventually had to sell the family music studio and move in with a brother after Erik's death. She saves the piece of paper with Hans's name and...

Walter Kugler

Walter Kugler is Max's good friend and former fist fighting partner. Walter is conscripted into the military and takes Max to a hiding place on November 9, 1938. This is the date of Kristallnacht,...

Max's Uncle, Aunt Ruth, and Cousins

When Max is nine, his mother runs out of money and they go to live with an uncle who isn't named. We assume Aunt Ruth (a name Liesel hears Max saying in his sleep) is his uncle's wife, but the nove...

Hans Hubermann Junior

Hans Junior is the son of Hans and Rosa. He's a dedicated member of the Nazi Party. His disgust with his father's lack of allegiance to the party causes him to stop talking to him. According to Dea...

Trudy Hubermann

Trudy is the daughter of Hans and Rosa and a very minor character in the book. She shows up for holidays and doesn't cause any problems. She doesn't seem particularly close with either of her parents.

Alex Steiner

Alex is Rudy's father. He's a tailor with a tailor shop. His political beliefs are grounded in economics. After he loses his family during the Himmel Street bombing, he gets leave from the military...

Barbara Steiner

Barbara is Rudy's mother. She seems like a nice person, but we don't learn that much about her. All we do know is that she doesn't want her son taken away to a Nazi school, or her husband to go awa...

The Steiner Kids

Rudy's brothers and sisters aren't major characters, but we want to list their names for you: Kurt, Ann-Marie, Emma, and Bettina. They all die in the Himmel Street bombing.

Tommy Müller

Tommy lives on Himmel Street and is friends with Liesel and Rudy. Tommy has severe ear problems because he got lost in the snow for a long period of time as a young child. During the Hitler Youth m...

Frau Holtzapfel

At the beginning of the novel, Frau Holtzapfel is Rosa Hubermann's enemy. She spits on the Hubermanns' door every time she goes past it. The relationship is soothed when Frau Holtzapfel hears Liese...

Michael Holtzapfel

Michael is one of Frau Holtzapfel's sons. He loses three of his fingers in Stalingrad. He comes home to break the news that her other son, Robert, is dead. Michael hangs himself in Molching, over g...

Robert Holtzapfel

Robert is Frau Holtzapfel's son. He dies in Stalingrad after losing both of his legs in an explosive blast.

Arthur Berg

Arthur Berg is the first leader of the fruit (and vegetable) stealing gang that Liesel and Rudy join. He's fair and generous with the take. Arthur isn't the type to leave somebody stranded on the b...

Victor Chemell

Viktor is the second leader of the fruit-stealing gang. He's a bully and is nothing like his predecessor, Arthur Berg. He almost chokes Rudy and steals Liesel's book, throwing it in the Amper River...

Frau Diller

Frau Diller is a staunch Nazi supporter. She owns the shop where Liesel and Rudy buy mixed candy on Himmel Street. She dies in the Himmel Street bombing.

Franz Deutscher

Franz is the evil leader of Rudy's Hitler Youth squad. He terrorizes Rudy and Tommy, eventually breaking Rudy's ribs after Rudy throws a rock at him.

Reinhold Zucker

Reinhold Zucker is another bully, a young man serving with Hans on the air raid clean-up crew. Zucker doesn't like Hans, because Hans beats him at cards. So, he trades seats with Hans on the truck...

Ludwig Schmeikl

Ludwig is the little boy Liesel beats up on the playground when he teases her about not knowing how to read. When his ankle is crushed at the book burning, Liesel apologizes to him and him to her.

Frau Hienrich

Frau Heinrich works for the foster care system and is in charge of Liesel's case. She is the one who tells Hans that Liesel's mother has disappeared.

Heinz Hermann

Heinz is the mayor of Molching, and, obviously, a Nazi. He's married to Ilsa. He's a very minor character.

Johann Hermann

Johann is Ilsa Hermann's son, who dies in 1918 in some sort of unexplained barbed-wire fence accident. Ilsa is still grieving and suffering over him 22 years later. Meeting Liesel helps Ilsa try to...
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