An Introduction to The Book Thief Written by Markus Zusak Lives in Sydney, Australia Wrote his first book at 16 Grew up hearing stories about Nazi Germany, about the bombing of Munich, and the Jews being marched through his mother’s small German town
Summary Takes place in Nazi Germany A young girl whose mother is too poor to care for her and her brother is sent to live with a foster family Liesel is our main character She doesn’t know how to read but steals her first book before she gets to the foster family’s home
Key Concepts Foreshadowing: our narrator is death, so he knows how this story ends. Death constantly gives things away before we get to read about them Colors: Death tries to focus on colors instead of humans Stealing: occurs throughout the story (not just books) Guilt, abandonment, and dehumanization are other key concepts
Historical Events Covered Kristallnact Also referred to as Night of the Broken Glass Series of attacks against Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938 Jewish homes were ransacked and destroyed by civilians and stormtroopers.
Kristallnact 91 Jews killed 30,000 Jewish men—a quarter of all Jewish men in Germany– were taken to concentration camps where they were tortured for months with over 1,000 of the dying.
Kristallnact 1,668 synagogues ransacked 267 of them were set on fire Trigger of attacks: ◦ The assassination of German dipolomat Ernst vom Rath by Herschel Grynzspan, a German- born Polish Jew in Paris, France ◦ Goebbels wanted to turn it into fuel for the persecution of Jews