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The Book Thief | Characters

Character Description
Death Death, the narrator of the story, is neither human nor visible to the other characters, but he displays human qualities such as compassion, sorrow, weariness, and a sense of humor. Read More
Liesel Meminger Liesel Meminger, the brave and clever book thief, is a young girl who falls in love with words as she grows up in Nazi Germany during World War II. Read More
Hans Hubermann Hans Hubermann is Liesel's foster father, a middle-aged house painter, an accordion player, and a strong individual who does his part against the Nazis. Read More
Max Vandenburg Max Vandenburg is a Jewish amateur boxer who hides in Hans and Rosa's basement and becomes Liesel's close friend. Read More
Rudy Steiner Liesel's best friend and budding love interest, Rudy Steiner is blond, smart, and athletic, but doesn't fit in with Nazi society. Read More
Rosa Hubermann Rosa Hubermann is Liesel's foster mother; coarse and crude, she is caring and generous underneath her gruff exterior. Read More
The Mayor's Wife Delicate, grieving Ilsa Hermann, the mayor's wife, is one of Rosa's laundry customers. Frau Hermann encourages Liesel to read and eventually write. Read More
Eddie Alma Eddie Alma is a member of Hans Hubermann's LSE unit; Reinhold Zucker falls on top of him when the bus crashes.
Klaus Behrig Klaus Behrig is the older boy with whom Liesel purposely collides to injure herself while playing soccer, allowing her to summon and warn Hans.
Arthur Berg The first leader of Liesel and Rudy's gang, Arthur talks tough but is fair and looks out for those he leads.
Herbert Bollinger From Hamburg and now living in Molching, hefty Herbert Bollinger suggests Hans's business would improve if he joined the Nazi Party.
Helmut Brohmann Helmut Brohmann, a member of Hans Hubermann's LSE unit, is driving the bus when it crashes.
Brunnenweg Brunnenweg is a member of Hans Hubermann's LSE unit and one of the men with whom Hans works in a team of four.
Viktor Chemmel The second leader of Rudy and Liesel's stealing group, Viktor Chemmel is cruel and abusive. He insults Liesel, beats up Rudy, and later throws one of Liesel's books in the river.
Franz Deutscher The leader of Rudy's Hitler Youth chapter, Deutscher is a sadistic Nazi bully who hates both Rudy and Tommy Müller.
Frau Diller An older shopkeeper in the neighborhood, Frau Diller is an ardent Nazi who goes by the rules and expects everyone to be equally enthusiastic.
Wolfgang Edel Wolfgang Edel is the carpenter who built the platforms for Nazi bigwigs at the book burning celebrating Hitler's birthday.
Fiedler family The Fiedler family owns the home, six doors from the Hubermanns, whose cellar serves as an air-raid shelter.
Rolf Fischer One of Molching's "greatest Nazis," Rolf Fischer walks past Kleinmann's store and sees Hans helping the Jewish owner.
Wenzel Gruber Wenzel Gruber is the first boy Max fought.
Fritz Hammer Fritz Hammer is an older boy whom Liesel and Rudy notice eating an apple, an observation that leads the two into stealing food.
Herr Heckenstaller Herr Heckenstaller is the supervising teacher at Rudy's school; he oversees the physical exam in which Rudy is selected for special training.
Frau Heinrich Frau Heinrich is the woman in charge of placing Leisel in foster care with the Hubermanns.
Bürgermeister Heinz Hermann Heinz Hermann, a Nazi Party member and an apparently wealthy man, is the mayor of Molching.
Johann Hermann Johann Hermann is the deceased son of the mayor and his wife; Johann's books become a treasure for Liesel.
Frau Holtzapfel Rosa and Hans's spiteful next-door neighbor who looks as though she is made of wire and spits at the Hubermanns' door, Frau Holtzapfel never married and has an ongoing feud with Rosa. Comforted by listening to Liesel read at the air-raid shelter, Frau Holtzapfel, whose sons are both soldiers, asks Liesel to come read to her twice a week in exchange for extra coffee.
Michael Holtzapfel Michael Holtzapfel, one of Frau Holtzapfel's sons, survives the Battle of Stalingrad but loses three fingers. His sense of guilt for surviving when his brother has not causes him to kill himself.
Robert Holtzapfel Frau Holtzapfel's son, Robert Holtzapfel dies during the Battle of Stalingrad after his legs are blown off.
Hans Hubermann, Junior Hans and Rosa's grown son, Hans Junior is an ardent Nazi who criticizes his father and volunteers for the army.
Trudy Hubermann Hans and Rosa's grown daughter, Trudy Hubermann works as a maid for a wealthy family and visits her parents infrequently.
Joel Kleinmann Joel Kleinmann is a Jewish man whom Hans helps paint over the slurs written on his defaced clothing store.
Walter Kugler Max's non-Jewish friend and boxing opponent, Walter Kugler looks out for Max and saves his friend's life by arranging for him to stay with the Hubermanns.
Thomas Mamer Thomas Mamer is the angry and unsympathetic grocer who calls the police when Rudy tries to steal a potato.
Sister Maria A nun, Sister Maria is a teacher who whips Liesel at school for fighting at recess.
Frau Paula Meminger Frau Meminger, Liesel's birth mother, gives her up to a foster family and disappears; Liesel believes she is dead.
Werner Meminger Liesel's brother Werner dies at the age of six on a train taking him and Leisel to the Hubermanns' home in Molching.
Frau Metzing Frau Metzing is a woman who, along with others, comes to Rudy's defense when he tries to steal a potato.
Harald Mollenhauer Harald Mollenhauer is one of the neighborhood boys with whom Rudy and Leisel play soccer.
Kristina Müller Kristina Müller is Tommy's younger sister whom Liesel sometimes takes care of.
Tommy Müller A classmate of Liesel and Rudy's, Tommy is scarred, partially deaf, and possibly brain damaged after a medical procedure went wrong.
Nurse The nurse is a large, intimidating woman with a long thick braid who assists at the boys' physical exams at Rudy's school.
Frau Olendrich Frau Olendrich is Liesel's teacher whose class Rosa interrupts to yell at Liesel, informing her Max is alive; Frau Olendrich then slaps Liesel for insulting Rosa.
The Pfaffelhürvers The Pfaffelhürvers are Rosa's annoying customers who carefully inspect laundry items.
Pfiffikus A strange, white-haired resident in Liesel and Rudy's neighborhood, Pfiffikus is known to wander the streets, whistling and shouting at children.
Sergeant Boris Schipper Sergeant Boris Schipper is the leader of the LSE unit to which Hans Hubermann is assigned. He likes Hans and recommends he be sent home after the bus accident.
Andy Schmeikl Andy Schmeikl is the older brother of Ludwig and one of the boys who steals fruit; he is glad Leisel beat up his brother.
Ludwig Schmeikl A classmate of Liesel and Rudy's, Ludwig Schmeikl teases Liesel, who then retaliates by beating him up. Later they settle their differences.
Helena Schmidt A customer of Rosa, Helena Schmidt is a rich widow whom Rosa considers lazy.
Stephan Schneider During World War I Sergeant Stephan Schneider is the soldier who asks for the man with the best handwriting to stay behind; his request and Hans's nomination for the task keep Hans from fighting and getting killed with all the others that day.
Jürgen Schwarz A year younger than Rudy, Jürgen Schwarz is a schoolmate who is first to strip naked during the physical exams.
Olaf Spiegel Olaf Spiegel is a schoolmate who is present along with Rudy and Jürgen Schwarz during the physical exams.
Alex Steiner Alex Steiner, Rudy's father, is a tailor who tries to support his wife and children on a small income. As a Nazi Party member, Herr Steiner hopes to profit from the closing of Jewish businesses. However, he angers party leaders by refusing to allow Rudy to enter special training and is later punished.
Barbara Steiner Barbara Steiner, Rudy's mother, spends her time trying to care for her numerous children.
Bettina Steiner Bettina Steiner is the youngest of the Steiner children.
Kurt Steiner Kurt Steiner is the oldest of the Steiner children.
Otto Sturm Otto Sturm is the boy who delivers produce to the priest and from whom Liesel and Rudy steal food.
Erik Vandenburg Max's father and Hans's friend, Erik Vandenburg served in World War I with Hans. Erik taught Hans to play the accordion and saved his life by recommending him for a safe job.
Ernst Vogel Treated with scorn, Rosa's customer Herr Ernst Vogel is, according to Rosa, a drunk and a lecher who scratches lice-ridden hair, licks his fingers, and then hands money to Rosa.
The Weingartners Customers of Rosa who own a shedding cat, she scorns them as stupid.
Reinhold Zucker Arrogant 24-year-old LSE team member Reinhold Zucker resents Hans; in trying to bait Hans, he claims Hans's seat in the back of the truck. To avoid a petty confrontation, Hans yields the seat, and Zucker dies in Hans's place when the truck crashes.
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