Study Guide

The Book Thief Chapter 63

By Markus Zusak

Chapter 63


  • 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'.
  • His punishment for not giving them his son.

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