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Unformatted text preview: sel was given a used doll that
had a missing leg and yellow hair.
“It was the best we could do,” Papa apologized.
“What are you talking about? She’s lucky to have that much,” Mama corrected him.
Hans continued his examination of the remaining leg while Liesel tried on her new uniform. Ten years old
meant Hitler Youth. Hitler Youth meant a small brown uniform. Being female, Liesel was enrolled into what
was called the BDM.
EXPLANATION OF THE
It stood for Bund Deutscher Mädchen—
Band of German Girls.
The first thing they did there was make sure your “heil Hitler” was working properly. Then you were taught to
march straight, roll bandages, and sew up clothes. You were also taken hiking and on other such activities.
Wednesday and Saturday were the designated meeting days, from three in the afternoon until five.
Each Wednesday and Saturday, Papa would walk Liesel there and pick her up two hours later. They never
spoke about it much. They just held hands and listened to their feet, and Papa had a cigarette or two.
The only anxiety Papa brought her was the fact that he was constantly leaving. Many evenings, he would walk
into the living room (which doubled as the Hubermanns’ bedroom), pull the accordion from the old cupboard,
and squeeze past in the kitchen to the front door.
As he walked up Himmel Street, Mama would open the window and cry out, “Don’t be home too late!”
“Not so loud,” he would turn and call back.
“Saukerl! Lick my ass! I’ll speak as loud as I want!”
The echo of her swearing followed him up the street. He never looked back, or at least, not until he was sure his
wife was gone. On those evenings, at the end of the street, accordion case in hand, he would turn around, just
before Frau Diller’s corner shop, and see the figure who had replaced his wife in the window. Briefly, his long,
ghostly hand would rise before he turned again and walked slowly on. The next time Liesel saw him would be
at two in the morning, when he dragged her gently from her nightmare.
Evenings in the small kitchen were ra...
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- Winter '13