This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: Geburtstag.” He smiled weakly. “All the best for your birthday.” His hands were in his
pockets. “I didn’t know, or else I could have given you something.” A blatant lie—he had nothing to give,
except maybe Mein Kampf, and there was no way he’d give such propaganda to a young German girl. That
would be like the lamb handing a knife to the butcher.
There was an uncomfortable silence.
She had embraced Mama and Papa.
Max looked so alone.
And she walked over and hugged him for the first time. “Thanks, Max.”
At first, he merely stood there, but as she held on to him, gradually his hands rose up and gently pressed into her
Only later would she find out about the helpless expression on Max Vandenburg’s face. She would also
discover that he resolved at that moment to give her something back. I often imagine him lying awake all that
night, pondering what he could possibly offer.
As it turned out, the gift was delivered on paper, just over a week later.
He would bring it to her in the early hours of morning, before retreating down the concrete steps to what he now
liked to call home. PAGES FROM THE BASEMENT
For a week, Liesel was kept from the basement at all cost. It was Mama and Papa who made sure to take down
“No, Saumensch,” Mama told her each time she volunteered. There was always a new excuse. “How about you
do something useful in here for a change, like finish the ironing? You think carrying it around town is so
special? Try ironing it!” You can do all manner of underhanded nice things when you have a caustic reputation.
During that week, Max had cut out a collection of pages from Mein Kampf and painted over them in white. He
then hung them up with pegs on some string, from one end of the basement to the other. When they were all
dry, the hard part began. He was educated well enough to get by, but he was certainly no writer, and no artist.
Despite this, he formulated the words in his head till he could recount them without error. Only th...
View Full Document
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