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Unformatted text preview: watched the Jews come down the road like a catalog of colors. That wasn’t how the book thief described
them, but I can tell you that that’s exactly what they were, for many of them would die. They would each greet
me like their last true friend, with bones like smoke and their souls trailing behind.
When they arrived in full, the noise of their feet throbbed on top of the road. Their eyes were enormous in their
starving skulls. And the dirt. The dirt was molded to them. Their legs staggered as they were pushed by
soldiers’ hands—a few wayward steps of forced running before the slow return to a malnourished walk.
Hans watched them above the heads of the crowding audience. I’m sure his eyes were silver and strained. Liesel
looked through the gaps or over shoulders.
The suffering faces of depleted men and women reached across to them, pleading not so much for help—they
were beyond that—but for an explanation. Just something to subdue this confusion. Their feet could barely rise above the ground.
Stars of David were plastered to their shirts, and misery was attached to them as if assigned. “Don’t forget your
misery . . .” In some cases, it grew on them like a vine.
At their side, the soldiers also made their way past, ordering them to hurry up and to stop moaning. Some of
those soldiers were only boys. They had the Führer in their eyes.
As she watched all of this, Liesel was certain that these were the poorest souls alive. That’s what she wrote
about them. Their gaunt faces were stretched with torture. Hunger ate them as they continued forward, some of
them watching the ground to avoid the people on the side of the road. Some looked appealingly at those who
had come to observe their humiliation, this prelude to their deaths. Others pleaded for someone, anyone, to step
forward and catch them in their arms.
No one did.
Whether they watched this parade with pride, temerity, or shame, nobody came forward to interrupt it. Not yet.
Once in a while a man or woman—no, they were not me...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13