|Birthday||August 8, 1929|
|Date of Death||April 4, 2005|
|Alias||Saumensch (by Rosa Hubermann and Rudy Steiner)
Book Thief (by Rudy Steiner)
|Location||33 Himmel Street, Molching, Germany - Hubermann's house (during almost the entire book)
Sydney, Australia (during her life after the War)
|Family||Werner Meminger (brother) †
Paula Meminger (mother)
Hans Hubermann (foster father) †
Rosa Hubermann (foster mother) †
Hans Hubermann Jr. (foster brother)
Trudy Hubermann (foster sister)
|Allies||Rudy Steiner (best friend / love interest) †
Max Vandenburg (close friend)
|Appearances||The Book Thief (protagonist)|
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” Liesel Meminger
The story starts with her at nine years old, she is sent by her mother to live with the Hubermanns on 33 Himmel Street, Molching, after her younger brother died. She then continues her life living with her foster parent Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She makes friends with a boy named Rudy Steiner, and begins stealing books from the mayor's library. Later in the story, there are planes flying overhead dropping bombs on the town. When Lisel is down in the basement writing her story down in the book she was given, Himmel street is bombed and she is the only survivor found by the searchers. She is later shown to be working for Rudy's dad who was away in the war, and meets max. Many years later she dies at age 75 and meets death who picked up her story.
Long Dirty blonde hair with brown hair. Hazel eyes and very skinny from the lack of food.
In The Book Thief book, Liesel Meminger meets Rudy Steiner at the Himmel Street soccer game. Their first encounter didn't go to well for instance after Liesel blocked Rudy's goal he threw a snowball at her face. Rudy is known for the "Jesse Owens incident" when he colored himself black with charcoal and pretended that he was Jesse Owens. Rudy was Liesel's partner in crime when she started stealing. Throughout the entire book, Rudy tries to get Liesel to kiss him. Basically they fall in love at the end when he dies.
Max writes books for Liesel about all that she has done for him and about how her words and her tears are able to save him and give him strength. Max's book, The Word Shaker, describes how Liesel's words give him strength and have the ability to cut down forests of hate. He boxes the Führer in the basement and is constantly aware of how the Führer manipulates the crowd with his words, turning the entire audience on Max in his daydreams as well as in reality.
He and Liesel become great friends during their time together.
After the War, Max visits Liesel. He survived the holocaust. We don't know more about their relationship after that.
Hans Hubbermann is Liesel's adoptive/foster father. Hans, is an incredibly kind, decent and patient man, and he easily wins over Liesel's affections after she comes to the Hubermann household. He does this through several different acts of kindness, all of which help Liesel to feel loved, supported, and okay with who she is.
Liesel is afflicted with horrible nightmares about her brother's death. Every single night, she sees his body in her dreams again, and wakes up screaming from the trauma that created within her. Hans, every single night, goes in to her and comforts her while she calms down and is able to go back to sleep. He hugs her, speaks soothing words, listens to her, and stays with her for hours. This helps Liesel to feel loved instead of like a burden. Hans demonstrates total patience and love for her through this hard time.
“Possibly the only good to come out of these nightmares was that it brought Hans Hubermann, her new papa, into the room, to soothe her, to love her.Also, Hans teaches Liesel how to read and write - Liesel, who doesn't know how, snatches books that Hans then patiently teaches her to decipher. He does this during their nightime nightmare hours, and also in the basement, using Hans' paints to teach her how to write. He is incredibly patient, as this is a very difficult and slow process, and he never shows frustration with Liesel's slow progress. One last way that Hans shows love is by shielding Liesel from the more gruff style of Rosa, joking with Liesel, and teaching her through example how to respond to Rosa's rather unconventional way of dealing with her.
He came every night and sat with her. The first couple of times, he simply stayed - a stranger to kill the aloneness. A few nights after that, he whispered, "Shhh, I'm here, it's all right." After three weeks he held her. Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man's gentleness, his thereness. The girl knew from the outset that Hans Hubermann would always appear midscream, and he would not leave." about Hans Hubermann
“Papa!” she whispered. “I have no eyes!”At Christmas, when they have no money, he even finds a way to get her a book. His music is another key to establishing a relationship with Liesel. He loves to play music for her. Hans proves himself worthy of her love even more, when he takes a stand by honoring a favor to someone and helping the Jewish man by hiding him.
He patted the girl’s hair. She’d fallen into his trap. “With a smile like that,” Hans Hubermann said, “you don’t need eyes." When Hans draws Liesel
Liesel gets really sad when Hans is called to fight in the War. She can't stop thinking about him (what happened, if he was okay, if he would he come back...). When Hans came back she felt really happy again.
Overall, Hans is a stabilizing and life-saving force in Liesel's life, one that allows her to overcome the difficult circumstances that she has faced, and be strong. Hans is the older father that Liesel has not known before.
She is the wife of Hans Hubbermann, and is Liesel's foster mother. She constantly badmouths her Husband, but actually had a very big heart. She works hard to provide enough food, and doesn't like to be wasteful. She likes to call people Saumensch, Saukerl, and even Arschloch. While Hans Hubermann was in the war for the second time, Liesel realized how much of a heart her foster-mother really has.
Liesel's brother is Werner Meminger. He did not make it to Molching, where he and Liesel would be fostered by the Hubermanns. He died on the train while going to the Hubermann's house, in the beggining of the story (January 1939) with pneumonia. Werner was 6 when he died. In his funeral, Liesel found a copy of The Gravedigger's Handbook on the ground.
We don't know much about his relationship with Liesel before he dies, but from the extent of her grief, we can imagine they were close. Liesel is haunted by the memory of Werner and consistently experiences nightmares about his death for months after arriving in Molching. At one point, Liesel thinks to herself that in her mind, Werner will be six years old forever.
Paula Meminger Edit
We know very little about Liesel's mother, except that she's a very tragic figure. She lost her husband and gave up for adoption both of her children (Liesel and Werner) before disappearing herself.
Liesel's father was taken away by the Nazis for being a Communist, and Paula meets the same fate. As Liesel comes to realize, by giving her daughter away, Paula saves her from persecution.
Throughout the novel, Liesel thinks a lot about her mother. She even writes letters to her. Rosa and Hans don't want to tell Liesel that her mother is probably dead, so they pretend they try to send those letters. Liesel becomes sad when she finds it out, but, when she grows up, she understands why her mother couldn't answer or visit her.
Paula cried a lot when Werner died and in his funeral, and was an amazing person by giving their children for adoption (so they could have a better life), so we can admit she loved her children a lot.
The Books Edit
Liesel, the orphaned protagonist of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, steals a total of nine books throughout the novel:
- The first is The Grave Diggers Handbook, stolen on January 13, 1939, the day Liesel's brother dies, and the day she last sees her mother. With it, Hans Hubermann, her foster father, teaches her how to read.
- The second is Faust the Dog, by Mattheus Ottleberg, received as a Christmas gift, paid for by cigarettes.
- The third is The Lighthouse, by Ingrid Rippinstein, also received at Christmas, and paid for by cigarettes.
- The fourth is The Shoulder Shrug, "stolen" from a bonfire of banned books on April 20, 1940. The mayor's wife witnesses the theft.
- The fifth is Mein Kampf ("My Struggle"), written by the Fuhrer himself, Adolf Hitler given to her by Max.
- The sixth is The Whistler, given by the mayor's wife on the day she fires her laundress, Liesel's foster mother. Enraged, Liesel threw it back, but later decided to keep the book only if she could steal it. In November 1941, she and her best friend, Rudy, sneak into the mayor's residence to steal the book, almost getting caught in the process. Viktor Chemmel, their enemy, threw it into the icy river, but Rudy gallantly retrieved it.
- The seventh is The Dream Carrier, stolen because the title of the book reminded Liesel of the dreams she shared with Max, the Hubermann's secret, because Jewish, houseguest.
- The eighth is Song in the Dark, stolen because Liesel didn't have a green book in her collection, and because the insignia of a flute between the title and the author's name appealed to her. This was the first book she stole without Rudy's assistance.
- The ninth and last book is The Complete Dulden Dictionary and Thesaurus, left on the window ledge by Liesel's secret admirer, the mayor's wife.
(She was also given two more books from Max. The Standover Man and The Word Shaker.)
The Book Thief Edit
The Book Thief is the name of the book Liesel writes over the period leading up to the bombing of Himmel Street. It's the book Death rescues from the garbage and returns to Liesel when she dies. It's the book that literally saves her life. If she hadn't been editing it in the basement on the night of the Himmel Street bombing, she would have died along with everybody else. The concentration Liesel summons points again to her strength of character. Her ability to find a positive outlet for her emotions also says a lot about her. Of course, she didn't just decide to write a book all on her own. She has a little help from Ilsa Hermann. This points to the irony of the title.
"She was the book thief without the words.Ilsa gives her the blank book after Liesel has given up book thievery and books in general. Though we're sure she reads again, her book marks her graduation from reader to serious author. What we want to know is if Liesel writes more books when she grows up, and if not, why.
Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.” Death about Liesel Meminger