Unformatted text preview: tood up and also raised her arm. With absolute misery, she repeated it. “Heil Hitler.” It was quite a sight
—an eleven-year-old girl, trying not to cry on the church steps, saluting the Führer as the voices over Papa’s
shoulder chopped and beat at the dark shape in the background.
“Are we still friends?”
Perhaps a quarter of an hour later, Papa held a cigarette olive branch in his palm—the paper and tobacco he’d
just received. Without a word, Liesel reached gloomily across and proceeded to roll it.
For quite a while, they sat there together. Smoke climbed over Papa’s shoulder.
After another ten minutes, the gates of thievery would open just a crack, and Liesel Meminger would widen
them a little further and squeeze through.
Would the gates shut behind her?
Or would they have the goodwill to let her back out?
As Liesel would discover, a good thief requires many things.
Stealth. Nerve. Speed.
More important than any of those things, however, was one final requirement.
Forget the ten minutes.
The gates open now. BOOK OF FIRE
The dark came in pieces, and with the cigarette brought to an end, Liesel and Hans Hubermann began to walk
home. To get out of the square, they would walk past the bonfire site and through a small side road onto Munich
Street. They didn’t make it that far.
A middle-aged carpenter named Wolfgang Edel called out. He’d built the platforms for the Nazi big shots to
stand on during the fire and he was in the process now of pulling them down. “Hans Hubermann?” He had long
sideburns that pointed to his mouth and a dark voice. “Hansi!”
“Hey, Wolfal,” Hans replied. There was an introduction to the girl and a “heil Hitler.” “Good, Liesel.”
For the first few minutes, Liesel stayed within a five-meter radius of the conversation. Fragments came past her,
but she didn’t pay too much attention.
“Getting much work?”
“No, it’s all tighter now. You know how it is, especially when you’re not a member.”
“You told me you were...
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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