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She looked at both her foster parents.
Who were these people? LIESEL’S LECTURE
Exactly what kind of people Hans and Rosa Hubermann were was not the easiest problem to solve. Kind
people? Ridiculously ignorant people? People of questionable sanity?
What was easier to define was their predicament.
THE SITUATION OF HANS AND
Very sticky indeed.
In fact, frightfully sticky.
When a Jew shows up at your place of residence in the early hours of morning, in the very birthplace of
Nazism, you’re likely to experience extreme levels of discomfort. Anxiety, disbelief, paranoia. Each plays its
part, and each leads to a sneaking suspicion that a less than heavenly consequence awaits. The fear is shiny.
Ruthless in the eyes.
The surprising point to make is that despite this iridescent fear glowing as it did in the dark, they somehow
resisted the urge for hysteria.
Mama ordered Liesel away.
“Bett, Saumensch.” The voice calm but firm. Highly unusual.
Papa came in a few minutes later and lifted the covers on the vacant bed.
“Alles gut, Liesel? Is everything good?”
“As you can see, we have a visitor.” She could only just make out the shape of Hans Hubermann’s tallness in
the dark. “He’ll sleep in here tonight.”
A few minutes later, Max Vandenburg was in the room, noiseless and opaque. The man did not breathe. He did
not move. Yet, somehow, he traveled from the doorway to the bed and was under the covers.
It was Papa again, talking this time to Max.
The reply floated from his mouth, then molded itself like a stain to the ceiling. Such was his feeling of shame.
“Yes. Thank you.” He said it again, when Papa made his way over to his customary position in the chair next to
Liesel’s bed. “Thank you.”
Another hour passed before Liesel fell asleep. She slept hard and long.
A hand woke her just after eight-thirty the next morning.
The voice at the end of it informed her that she would not be attending school that day. Apparently, she...
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- Winter '13