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Unformatted text preview: the Nazi was already at the door of a lodging a
few doors up. No one answered. Rudy was calling out again.
“Do you need help, Herr Hubermann?”
“No, no, you keep playing, Herr Steiner.” Herr Steiner. You had to love Liesel’s papa.
Once inside, Liesel gave him the information. She attempted to find the middle ground between silence and
“The party,” she whispered. Papa stopped. He fought off the urge to open the door and look up the street.
“They’re checking basements to make shelters.”
He set her down. “Smart girl,” he said, then called for Rosa.
They had a minute to come up with a plan. A shemozzle of thoughts.
“We’ll just put him in Liesel’s room,” was Mama’s suggestion. “Under the bed.”
“That’s it? What if they decide to search our rooms as well?”
“Do you have a better plan?”
Correction: they did not have a minute.
A seven-punch knock was hammered into the door of 33 Himmel Street, and it was too late to move anyone
Their heartbeats fought each other, a mess of rhythm. Liesel tried to eat hers down. The taste of heart was not
Rosa whispered, “Jesus, Mary—”
On this day, it was Papa who rose to the occasion. He rushed to the basement door and threw a warning down
the steps. When he returned, he spoke fast and fluent. “Look, there is no time for tricks. We could distract him a
hundred different ways, but there is only one solution.” He eyed the door and summed up. “Nothing.”
That was not the answer Rosa wanted. Her eyes widened. “Nothing? Are you crazy?”
The knocking resumed.
Papa was strict. “Nothing. We don’t even go down there—not a care in the world.”
Everything slowed. Rosa accepted it.
Clenched with distress, she shook her head and proceeded to answer the door.
“Liesel.” Papa’s voice sliced her up. “Just stay calm, verstehst?”
She tried to concentrate on her bleeding leg.
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- Winter '13