Study Guide

Maus: A Survivor's Tale Book II, Chapter 4

By Art Spiegelman

Book II, Chapter 4

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  • It is late autumn, and Art visits his father again. Vladek wants Art to help him put up storm windows, but Art convinces him to continue on with his story.
  • According to Vladek, Anja made it back to their hometown, Sosnowiec, through the Russian side of Poland. She was helped for much of the way by Mancie.
  • Vladek’s liberation took some time longer. He and the other prisoners neared the Swiss-German border to be exchanged for other prisoners, but instead, the train stopped. Vladek and the other prisoners leave the car, not sure where to turn. All of a sudden, a German Wehramacht patrol comes up and ushers them to a lake, where they plan to shoot the prisoners. But the prisoners survive the night; one of the SS officers’ girlfriend had convinced him not to shoot.
  • The prisoners find themselves free again, but then they are accosted by another German patrol, which takes them to a barn. All night, the prisoners listen to the fighting in the hills. By morning, this German patrol has also disappeared.
  • The prisoners fan out, uncertain of where to go. Vladek and his friend Shivek hide in a pit behind a garage, but the garage owner tries to get a German patrol to kill them.
  • Vladek and Shivek next find an abandoned barn to hide in. When they hear an explosion, they realize that the Germans are blowing up the bridges as they retreat.
  • Vladek and Shivek find some civilian clothes and some food. But their stomachs are so unused to food that they become ill.
  • Finally, the American soldiers show up. They station themselves in the house, and Vladek and Shivek are happy to work for their keep.
  • Vladek breaks from his story, and shows Art a box of old photographs. Each photograph is of a family member, and Vladek tells Art about each of their fates as they go through the photographs.
  • Vladek lets Art take the photographs, but nearly has another heart attack. With no time left to put up the storm windows, Art gets his father to lie down.