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Unformatted text preview: Hans Hubermann, he wouldn’t have despised him. If he hadn’t despised him, he
might not have taken his place a few weeks later on a fairly innocuous road.
One seat, two men, a short argument, and me.
It kills me sometimes, how people die. THE SNOWS OF STALINGRAD
In the middle of January 1943, the corridor of Himmel Street was its dark, miserable self. Liesel shut the gate
and made her way to Frau Holtzapfel’s door and knocked. She was surprised by the answerer.
Her first thought was that the man must have been one of her sons, but he did not look like either of the brothers
in the framed photos by the door. He seemed far too old, although it was difficult to tell. His face was dotted
with whiskers and his eyes looked painful and loud. A bandaged hand fell out of his coat sleeve and cherries of
blood were seeping through the wrapping.
“Perhaps you should come back later.”
Liesel tried to look past him. She was close to calling out to Frau Holtzapfel, but the man blocked her.
“Child,” he said. “Come back later. I’ll get you. Where are you from?”
More than three hours later, a knock arrived at 33 Himmel Street and the man stood before her. The cherries of
blood had grown into plums.
“She’s ready for you now.”
Outside, in the fuzzy gray light, Liesel couldn’t help asking the man what had happened to his hand. He blew
some air from his nostrils— a single syllable—before his reply. “Stalingrad.”
“Sorry?” He had looked into the wind when he spoke. “I couldn’t hear you.”
He answered again, only louder, and now, he answered the question fully. “Stalingrad happened to my hand. I
was shot in the ribs and I had three of my fingers blown off. Does that answer your question?” He placed his
uninjured hand in his pocket and shivered with contempt for the German wind. “You think it’s cold here?”
Liesel touched the wall at her side. She couldn’t lie. “Yes, of course.”
The man laughed. “This isn’t cold.” He pulled out a cigarette...
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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