Unformatted text preview: stop Hans Junior. He looked now for some reason at the girl. With her
three books standing upright on the table, as if in conversation, Liesel was silently mouthing the words as she
read from one of them. “And what trash is this girl reading? She should be reading Mein Kampf. ”
Liesel looked up.
“Don’t worry, Liesel,” Papa said. “Just keep reading. He doesn’t know what he’s saying.”
But Hans Junior wasn’t finished. He stepped closer and said, “You’re either for the Führer or against him—and
I can see that you’re against him. You always have been.” Liesel watched Hans Junior in the face, fixated on the
thinness of his lips and the rocky line of his bottom teeth. “It’s pathetic—how a man can stand by and do
nothing as a whole nation cleans out the garbage and makes itself great.”
Trudy and Mama sat silently, scaredly, as did Liesel. There was the smell of pea soup, something burning, and
They were all waiting for the next words.
They came from the son. Just two of them.
“You coward.” He upturned them into Papa’s face, and he promptly left the kitchen, and the house.
Ignoring futility, Papa walked to the doorway and called out to his son. “Coward? I’m the coward?!” He then
rushed to the gate and ran pleadingly after him. Mama hurried to the window, ripped away the flag, and opened
up. She, Trudy, and Liesel all crowded together, watching a father catch up to his son and grab hold of him,
begging him to stop. They could hear nothing, but the manner in which Hans Junior shrugged loose was loud
enough. The sight of Papa watching him walk away roared at them from up the street.
“Hansi!” Mama finally cried out. Both Trudy and Liesel flinched from her voice. “Come back!”
The boy was gone.
Yes, the boy was gone, and I wish I could tell you that everything worked out for the younger Hans
Hubermann, but it didn’t.
When he vanished from Himmel Street that day in the name of the Führer, he would hurtle through the even...
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- Winter '13