“The Book Thief” and Nazi Germany
During wartime, when Hitler had so much influence over Germany, going against the Nazi Party and Hitler’s thinking was considered treason, and was punishable by death. Today, however, we would tend to look back on such an act (such as giving bread to a Jewish prisoner) as an act of courage. Why? Because that person decided that what the Nazis were doing was wrong. And they had the courage to speak out against them. That person (Hans in this case) questioned the norm. In some cases in today’s society, some things are considered the norm. That doesn’t mean that the norm is always right. It is commendable that some people have the courage to question the norms in society and bring awareness to things that are morally wrong, but yet considered perfectly normal.
Some people on Himmel Street show different levels of courage. Mrs. Holtzapfel, for example stays strong after she finds out about the death of one of her sons. Another example would be Rosa and Mrs. Steiner. who both show a certain level of courage and composure when dealing with the absence of their husbands. Hans Junior accuses his father Hans of being a coward for not supporting Hitler, yet in Nazi Germany, it would take much more bravery to defy Hitler and defend the Jews than it would to go along with Nazi ideology.
How it works
For Hans Hubermann, opposing Hitler is probably one of the most difficult things to do during the war. It must be one of the most courageous for anyone, considering the power and influence hitler had over his country and many others around him. Rudy following the example set by Hans is also an act of bravery in my opinion, but there is a very fine line between bravery and being naive in the sense that Rudy could just be going against the Fuhrer to please Hans and does not truly realize the danger in what he is doing. Some people on Himmel Street show different levels of courage. Mrs. Holtzapfel, for example stays strong after she finds out about the death of one of her sons. Another example would be Rosa and Mrs. Steiner; who both show a certain level of courage and composure when dealing with the absence of their husbands.
The punishment for being found with a hidden Jew was certain death. Before the war, Hans brought scrutiny upon him and ruined his business by painting over anti-Semitic slurs written on Jewish-owned houses and shops. When he sees Jews being marched through town on their way to a concentration camp, Hans gives an old Jew a piece of bread and is whipped by a soldier for doing so. After that incident, Hans anticipates the secret police taking him away. When he sees two Nazis wearing black trench coats on his street, Hans even runs out and tells them that it’s him they want.
I consider both Rudy and Liesel to be brave. Even if some of their actions seem to be rash- like stealing and giving bread. They appear to be na??ve when giving bread to Jews even after they saw Hans being whipped for doing the same deed, but I think they are actually doing something courageous. They clearly aren’t ignorant of the consequences for helping Jews, as they witnessed Hans being brutally punished. They are being courageous and putting their well-being on the line in order to help others in need.