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Unformatted text preview: urt, still stoic and
full of stare, took it up and tightened his grip gently on the hand of his sister. Soon, everyone in the cellar was
holding the hand of another, and the group of Germans stood in a lumpy circle. The cold hands melted into the
warm ones, and in some cases, the feeling of another human pulse was transported. It came through the layers
of pale, stiffened skin. Some of them closed their eyes, waiting for their final demise, or hoping for a sign that
the raid was finally over.
Did they deserve any better, these people?
How many had actively persecuted others, high on the scent of Hitler’s gaze, repeating his sentences, his
paragraphs, his opus? Was Rosa Hubermann responsible? The hider of a Jew? Or Hans? Did they all deserve to
die? The children?
The answer to each of these questions interests me very much, though I cannot allow them to seduce me. I only
know that all of those people would have sensed me that night, excluding the youngest of the children. I was the
suggestion. I was the advice, my imagined feet walking into the kitchen and down the corridor.
As is often the case with humans, when I read about them in the book thief’s words, I pitied them, though not as
much as I felt for the ones I scooped up from various camps in that time. The Germans in basements were pitiable, surely, but at least they had a chance. That basement was not a washroom. They were not sent there for
a shower. For those people, life was still achievable.
In the uneven circle, the minutes soaked by.
Liesel held Rudy’s hand, and her mama’s.
Only one thought saddened her.
How would Max survive if the bombs arrived on Himmel Street?
Around her, she examined the Fiedlers’ basement. It was much sturdier and considerably deeper than the one at
33 Himmel Street.
Silently, she asked her papa.
Are you thinking about him, too?
Whether the silent question registered or not, he gave the girl a quick nod. It was followed a few minutes later
by the three sirens of temporary peace.
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- Winter '13