The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

A few of the shops were abandoned and still labeled

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Unformatted text preview: than the other buildings on Himmel Street. Frau Diller administered this feeling, dishing it out as the only free item from her premises. She lived for her shop and her shop lived for the Third Reich. Even when rationing started later in the year, she was known to sell certain hard-to-get items under the counter and donate the money to the Nazi Party. On the wall behind her usual sitting position was a framed photo of the Führer. If you walked into her shop and didn’t say “heil Hitler,” you wouldn’t be served. As they walked by, Rudy drew Liesel’s attention to the bulletproof eyes leering from the shop window. “Say ‘heil’ when you go in there,” he warned her stiffly. “Unless you want to walk a little farther.” Even when they were well past the shop, Liesel looked back and the magnified eyes were still there, fastened to the window. Around the corner, Munich Street (the main road in and out of Molching) was strewn with slosh. As was often the case, a few rows of troops in training came marching past. Their uniforms walked upright and their black boots further polluted the snow. Their faces were fixed ahead in concentration. Once they’d watched the soldiers disappear, the group of Steiners and Liesel walked past some shop windows and the imposing town hall, which in later years would be chopped off at the knees and buried. A few of the shops were abandoned and still labeled with yellow stars and anti-Jewish slurs. Farther down, the church aimed itself at the sky, its rooftop a study of collaborated tiles. The street, overall, was a lengthy tube of gray—a corridor of dampness, people stooped in the cold, and the splashed sound of watery footsteps. At one stage, Rudy rushed ahead, dragging Liesel with him. He knocked on the window of a tailor’s shop. Had she been able to read the sign, she would have noticed that it belonged to Rudy’s father. The shop was not yet open, but inside, a man was preparing articles of clothing behind the counter. He looked up and waved. “My papa,” Rudy informed her, and they were soon among a crowd of various-size...
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