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Quotes

Quote #4

The train started again. The door at the end of their car opened and two German soldiers appeared. Annemarie tensed. Not here, on the train, too? They were everywhere. (6.39)

We know that Kirsti is really accustomed to the soldiers being around. Annemarie—not so much. She knows a time before there were soldiers, so their presence makes her really uneasy. Kirsti, on the other hand, doesn't understand what the big deal is, so she ends up chatting it up with the Nazis and charming the pants off of 'em.

Quote #5

"Don't tell me the soldiers try to—what's the word?—relocate butter, too?" She laughed at her own joke.

But it wasn't a joke at all, though Mama laughed ruefully. "They do," she said. "They relocate all the farmers' butter, right into the stomach of their army! I suppose that if they knew Henrik had kept this tiny bit, they would come with guns and march it away, down the path!" (8.11-12)

To someone who knows the terrible fate of many of the relocated people (we readers know that, sadly, many Jews died at the Nazis' hands), this type of joke might seem terribly cruel. But to Annemarie and her mom, it's just an expression of how much control the Nazis have over their lives.

Quote #6

She heard—as if in a recurring nightmare—the pounding on the door, and then the heavy, frighteningly familiar staccato of boots on the kitchen floor. The woman with the baby gasped and began, suddenly, to weep. (10.12)

Nightmare. That pretty much sums it up.

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