BY: SHERYL PENG

MS. LONGO

THE BOOK THIEF: THE MOVIE

Holocaust Project

8B

Characters...........................................................1

 

Setting.................................................................2

Sources..............................................................7

Opinion/Recommendation...................................5

Cambodian Genocide..........................................6

Plot.....................................................................3

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Main Characters

Rosa Hubermann:

Rosa is Liesel's adoptive mother who is known for showing Liesel tough love. When Liesel first arrives, she feels unwelcomed by Rosa. However, the two develop a better bond throughout the movie. Rosa constantly worries and washes the mayor's laundry for a living.

 

Max Vandenburg:

The son of late Erik Vandenburg, a Jewish man who had brefriended Hans Hubermann and saved Hans' life during World War I. Erik had taught Hans how to play the accordian and asked that Hans repay him in the future by hiding his son Max during the Holocaust. While staying at the Hubermann's he befriends Liesel and shares his love of literature with her.

Hans Hubermann:

Hans is Liesel's loving adoptive father. When Liesel first arrives, he helps her feel welcomed and adjust to her new home. When Hans discovers Liesel is illiterate, he teaches her how to read and gives her lessons in their basement. Hans is a kind man who puts the needs of others before others. As a hobby, Hans enjoys playing the accordian, which he learned while he was serving in the first World War.

Liesel Meminger:

 A courageous young girl who is illiterate at the beginning of the story and is teased by her classmates about it. She learns to read and develops a deep passion for literature. Liesel was sent to live with foster parents because her mother was a communist. As the story progresses, she begins to question Hitler and her support for him.

Rudy Steiner:

Rudy is Liesel's best friend who constantly pesters her for a kiss because he secretly loves her. He enjoys running track and admires Jesse Owens. One day, Rudy was caught on the running tracks with dirt smeared all of over his body pretending to be Jesse Owens. He gets reprimanded for idolizing Jesse Owens because of Jesse's race. Rudy is considered the perfect Aryan child with his blonde hair and blue eyes.

    The movie takes place in Molching, a fictional town in Germany, from January of 1939 to the end of the war in 1945. Molching is allegedly located outside the city of Munich. The Hubermann residence is located on 33 Himmel Street, which translates to "Heaven Street". When the story of the "Book Thief" begins, Hitler had already been ruling Germany for about four years. Many camps had been established and it is believed that Liesel's mother was sent to a camp. 

 

     The filming of "The Book Thief" also took place in Germany. In total, there were three locations in Germany that the movie had been shot in. The first was Gorlitz, Germany, where the book burning scene was shot. Studio Babelsberg was the second location. Inside the studio, a set had been built. Lastly, parts of the movie were shot in Berlin.

Chapter 2: Setting

    The movie starts off with Liesel Meminger on a train with her mother and brother, Werner, where they are on their way to Liesel and Werner's new foster parents. When Werner suddenly dies, the train stops and he is buried along the train tracks. During the burial, the gravedigger's book falls out of his jacket and Liesel steals it. She says goodbye to her mother when she arrives in the town of Molching in Germany. Liesel is taken to her new home where her foster parents, Rosa and Hans Hubermann welcome her. At first, Liesel does not take a liking to her new parents, especially Rosa.

 

     The next day, Rudy Steiner, the Hubermann's neighbor offers to take Liesel to school with him and quickly befriends her. During the first day of school, Liesel is asked to write her name on the chalkboard. Since she could not read or write, she was unable to complete the task. Her classmates bully her for being illiterate. At home, Hans discovers the book Liesel had stolen from the gravedigger. She confesses to him that she cannot read and he takes it upon himself to teach her. Hans turns the basement into Liesel's "classroom" and creates a dictionary for her on the walls. In no time, Liesel is educated and aquires a passion for books.

 

     In another part of Germany, a man named Max escaped from the Nazis on Kristallnacht and sets out to find his hiding place. On Hitler's birthday, a book burning is held in celebration. After the crowd leaves, Liesel goes back to the pile of books and steals one of the books. As she is leaving, the mayor and his wife pass by in a car and the mayor's wife sees her steal the book. One day, Max shows up at the Hubermann's residency and asks Hans if he still plays the accordian. Hans instantly recognizes the code and nurses a very weak Max back to health. Everyone in the family is sworn to secrecy about hiding Max in the basement. After Liesel steals Max's journal to read, they become friends and the two often discuss literature and their views on Hitler. Max lets Liesel hold onto his journal and she keeps it with her.

 

      Liesel is often sent to the mayor's home to deliver his clothes because Rosa washes his laundry. When she is there, she often avoids the mayor's wife, Ilsa Hermann, as she fears that Ilsa will confront her about the stolen book. One day, Ilsa beckons Liesel to follow her. Contrary to what Liesel thought Ilsa was going to do, she shows her the library of her late son. She urges Liesel to visit anytime and borrow as many books as she wishes. However, soon after Germany declares war on England, the mayor requests that Rosa stopped doing their laundry. Rosa is suprised by his request and begins stressing about money.

 

 

 

    

Chapter 3: Plot


     Around Christmas time, it begins snowing. Since Max arrived at the Hubermann's home, he had not been outside and had been relying on Liesel to describe the weather for him. As a suprise, Liesel and Hans brought snow into the house so Max could experience the weather for himself. Despite the fun Max had with the snow, he fell deathly ill afterwards and became unconscious. He was barely alive and was thought to die soon. As an attempt to keep Max alive, Liesel would read to him. Eventually, Liesel ran out of books in her own home and decides to steal from the mayor's home. One day, Rudy followed Liesel and discovered her adventures to the mayor's library. While running from Rudy, Liesel drops Max's journal and Rudy asks her about it. After much pestering, Liesel reveals to Rudy about Max.  A nearby Hitler youth member notices Liesel and Rudy talking and approaches them. He overhears Rudy promising he wouldn't tell anyone and becomes suspicious. When Liesel and Rudy refuse to tell him their secret he throws Max's journal into the river. Rudy fetches it for Liesel and the two walk home together.

 

     Several days later, a group of Nazis arrive in Molching. While playing soccer outside, Liesel overhears that the Nazis were checking basements. She quickly rushed home to warn her family just as a Nazi started to approach their home. While Rosa and Liesel stalled the officer upstairs, Hans hid Max underneath a Nazi flag in the basement. The Nazi officer did not find Max and quickly left. Despite Max being unseen, he was still deathly sick. However, while Liesel was at school one day, Rosa pulled her out of class to inform her that Max had regained consciousness and that he would live. That night, Molching was bombed and the citizens had to hide in a bomb shelter. With no one around, Max took advantage of the oppurtunity and went outside to enjoy the fresh air.

 

 

       The next day, Hans was walking down the street when he noticed a Jewish man being taken away by Nazis. Hans attempted to talk the officers out of taking away the man. Not only did Hans fail, but he was knocked to the ground and the Nazi took a record of his name. He went home in fear of the Nazi knowing his name. Hans expected to be punished for his actions so he quickly urged Max to find a safer hiding place. Max leaves and promises Liesel that she would see him again. A couple days later a Nazi arrives to inform Hans he was to serve in the war even though he was a veteran. However, he arrived back home only a couple days later due to an injury he had aquired after the truck he was in flipped. Only after things start looking up, tragedy strikes again and Liesel is once again left alone. 

 

 

Chapter 3: Plot (continued)

    I give "The Book Thief" five stars. It was touching movie with a poignant ending. The storyline was very interesting and gave a new perspective of life in Germany during the Holocaust. My favorite part of the movie was the narration, which is done by Death. He introduces himself in the beginning of the movie when he first takes Liesel's brother, Werner. Throughout the movie, Death makes several appearances and everytime he speaks, he take someone with him. I would highly recommend this movie.

 

Chapter 4: Opinion

     The Cambodian Genocide started in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge (The Communist Party of Kampuchea) overthrew the Lon Nol government and took over the capital of Phnom Penh. This political group believed in Maoist and Marxist- Leninist theories and wanted to turn Cambodia into a "communist argrarian utopia". They were lead by Pol Pot, who changed the country's name to Democratic Kampuchea when he came to power. As soon as the Khmer Rouge took over the government, they began rounding citizens up into labor camps. They mainly targeted teachers, monks, doctors, journalists, artists, the wealthy, and essentially anyone who had an education. However, no one, including members of the politcal party, was safe from the brutalities.

 

     Over the 4 years that the Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia, about 2 million people were slaughtered. They used starvation, "killing camps", manual labor, and "children soldiers" to execute the citizens. Using "children soldiers" was effective because they listened to orders and and were even forced to shoot their own family. About one million people were killed in "killing fields". The reign lf the Khmer Rouge came to an end when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in January 7, 1979 and took over the government. 

 

      The Cambodian Genocide and Holocaust were similar in many ways. Both were mass murders that killed millions of people controlled by a political group and their leader. The Khmer Rouge and Nazis both rose to power when their countries were going through a rough patch. In Germany, the country was struggling to recuperate from World War I while Cambodia had difficulty handling the aftermath of French colonization. However, the Nazis targeted a certain group of people while no one was safe from the wrath of the Khmer Rouge. 

Cambodian Holocaust

Chapter 5: Genocide

"The Cambodian Genocide." United to End Genocide. United to End Genocide, 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

The Book Thief. Dir. Brian Percival. Perf. Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, and Emily Watson. Fox 2000 Pictures, 2013. DVD. 

 

Sources: