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Unformatted text preview: mouth, but he
found it impossible to let it out. He said, “I think he might have, yes.” “I knew it.” The words were thrown at the steps and Liesel could feel the slush of anger, stirring hotly in her
stomach. “I hate the Führer,” she said. “I hate him.”
And Hans Hubermann?
What did he do?
What did he say?
Did he bend down and embrace his foster daughter, as he wanted to? Did he tell her that he was sorry for what
was happening to her, to her mother, for what had happened to her brother?
He clenched his eyes. Then opened them. He slapped Liesel Meminger squarely in the face.
“Don’t ever say that!” His voice was quiet, but sharp.
As the girl shook and sagged on the steps, he sat next to her and held his face in his hands. It would be easy to
say that he was just a tall man sitting poor-postured and shattered on some church steps, but he wasn’t. At the
time, Liesel had no idea that her foster father, Hans Hubermann, was contemplating one of the most dangerous
dilemmas a German citizen could face. Not only that, he’d been facing it for close to a year.
The surprise in her voice rushed her, but it also rendered her useless. She wanted to run, but she couldn’t. She
could take a Watschen from nuns and Rosas, but it hurt so much more from Papa. The hands were gone from
Papa’s face now and he found the resolve to speak again.
“You can say that in our house,” he said, looking gravely at Liesel’s cheek. “But you never say it on the street,
at school, at the BDM, never!” He stood in front of her and lifted her by the triceps. He shook her. “Do you hear
With her eyes trapped wide open, Liesel nodded her compliance.
It was, in fact, a rehearsal for a future lecture, when all of Hans Hubermann’s worst fears arrived on Himmel
Street later that year, in the early hours of a November morning.
“Good.” He placed her back down. “Now, let us try . . .” At the bottom of the steps, Papa stood erect and
cocked his arm. Forty-five degrees. “Heil Hitler.”
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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