Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 26

By Markus Zusak

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Chapter 26

The Struggler, Continued

  • Now Death skips ahead to November 3, 1940.
  • Max Vandenburg is on the train reading Hitler's book, Mien Kampf.
  • We learn that "Mien Kampf" translates to "My Struggle" (26.3).
  • Max had waited a week and a half in the storage shed.
  • That's how long it took for his friend Walter Kugler—(this is the first time we learn the name of the man who's been helping him escape to Himmel Street—to get back to him.
  • Walter tells Max that he (Walter) will be leaving to town to fight in the German army.
  • Max says he's sorry about that.
  • This is the last time these two will meet.
  • Walter leaves Max a train ticket. He'll travel from Stuttgart to Pasing, with a stop in Munich in between.
  • He's to leave Stuttgart in two nights. He'll walk from Pasing to Molching.
  • Walter also leaves him the things he needs to cut his hair and shave.
  • He shows his identity card, and his ticket when he gets on the train.
  • Max is desperately afraid of being asked for his "Papers" (26.24).
  • He's afraid that if he is asked to show the card again, he'll give himself away with fear and trembling and "the smell—no, the stench—of guilt" (26.26).
  • Luckily, he isn't asked.
  • As he rides the train he reads Mien Kampf and is amazed that Hitler's book is what's saving him from Hitler right now.

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