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Characters

(Film Adoption: Sophie Nlisse as) Liesel Meminger


The protagonist of the story. She is adopted by the Hubermanns when her father "abandons"
their family and her mother is forced to give her up. Her brother Werner dies on the journey to
the Hubermanns house. She is very close to her foster father, Hans Hubermann, and has a
rough but loving relationship with her foster mother, Rosa. She became friends with Max, the
Jew who the Hubermanns are hiding, as well as the mayor's wife, who allows Liesel to read,
borrow, and "steal" books from her home library. She also became friends with the other
children of Himmel Street, among them Rudy Steiner, who becomes her best friend. Despite her
many refusals of Rudy's requests for a kiss, her love for him is clear. After the war, Liesel
eventually marries, moves to Australia and starts a family. She dies in Sydney, having always
shown a true love for books.
(Film Adoption: Geoffrey Rush as) Hans Hubermann
Liesel's foster father. He takes in Liesel and raises her as his own. He comforts Liesel and she
claims him as her father. He teaches her how to read and write. Their love for each other
increases, and when Liesel needs comfort, he is there.
(Film Adoption: Emily Watson as) Rosa Hubermann
Liesel's foster mother who is always angry and swears a lot. To add to the household income,
she does washing and ironing for households in Molching. However, as the war causes
economic problems, she loses her jobs one by one. She has a quick temper, dictates to the
household, and is known for straightening out previous foster children; however, though she
often swears at Liesel, she cares very much for her. She has two children of her own, Trudy
and Hans Jr. She is killed in the Himmel Street bombing.
(Film Adoption: Nico Liersch as) Rudy Steiner
Liesel's best friend. Although, for him, Liesel was the one he truly loved. Despite being the
German ideal (blond hair and blue eyes), he does not support the Nazis. As part of a household
with six children, Rudy is always hungry. He is known throughout the neighborhood due to the
"Jesse Owens incident" in which he colored himself with coal one night and ran one hundred
metres at the local sports field. He is academically and athletically gifted, which attracts the
attention of Nazi Party officials, who try to recruit him; when he declines, they take his father,
Alex Steiner. He also gets into trouble at the Hitler Youth due to his smart mouth and rebellious
nature, and their mean group leader. Rudy becomes Liesel's best friend, often accompanying
her on her adventures and talking her through her problems. He also teases her, regularly
(though always unsuccessfully) asking her for a kiss mostly after he has helped her to
accomplish something. Sadly, Rudy ends up dying in the bombing of Himmel Street, and when
Liesel finds him dead on the ground, she finally kisses him.




(Film Adoption: Ben Schnetzer as) Max Vandenburg
A Jew who hides in the Hubermanns' basement. He is the son of a WWI German soldier who
fought with Hans Hubermann. Max's father was Hans' friend in WWI. When visiting his widow,
Hans gave her his address and told her if she needed anything to contact him. Years later,
during the Nazis' holocaust, Max's mother calls upon Hans for help. Max's friend travels to
Himmel Street to ask Hans to shelter Max, and Hans agrees to do so. He writes two books for
her and presents her with a sketchbook that contains his life story. Max leaves the Hubermann's
residence in 1942. The next time Liesel sees him, he is being escorted with other Jews to a
concentration camp near Munich. Liesel joins the group of Jews to speak to him, but this ends
with both Max and Liesel being whipped by a soldier. After this incident, Liesel tells Rudy how
she and the Hubermanns sheltered Max in their basement. She shows him a page in Max's
sketchbook with a drawing of Rudy wearing three medals. Max survived the concentration camp
and in 1945 finds Liesel in Alex Steiner's shop.
(Film Adoption: Barbara Auer as) Ilsa Hermann
The wife of the mayor of Molching. They had a son, Johannes Hermann, who was killed in
Russia. Rosa and Liesel do the Hermanns' washing and ironing for a time; eventually the bad
economy forces the Hermanns to discontinue the arrangement, in reaction to which Liesel
causes a scene. Despite this, Ilsa allows Liesel to continue visiting and read books in the large
library in her home. She also gives Liesel the diary, which leads Liesel to write her story, "The
Book Thief ". Ilsa takes Liesel into her home after Liesel survives the Himmel Street bombing.
(Film Adoption: Roger Allam as) Death
The narrator throughout the story, Death is sympathetic to humankind and dislikes all of the
despair and destruction brought upon humans by War, contrary to the common assumption
that Death and War are friends. He comments on the thoughts, morals, and actions of
humanity throughout the story while keeping a close eye on Liesel, even though at the
beginning of the story he states that it was stupid for him to follow her. He does not seem to
have any control over life and death, and frequently calls upon God with, "I don't understand",
and answers himself with, "But it's not your job to". He is not invincible. He is tired of his job
and wants a vacation, but cannot take one because there would be nobody to replace him.
While many people find Death devastating, he is surprisingly humorous

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