A metaphysical being, death serves as the dryly pessimistic narrator the The book Thief. Death"s duty is to bring away the souls the the freshly departed, which it has apparently done for millenia. In its line of work, death tries to focus on colors together a means of distracting chin from the survivors of those who have actually died. Liesel"s story is one of a grasp of survivors" story that death remembers; in fact, fatality retrieves the actual written autobiography of Liesel"s life after the waiting raid in ~ the finish of the novel. Death is "haunted" through humans and also unable come reconcile humanity"s capacity for evil v humanity"s volume for good.

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Liesel Meminger

Introduced by death as "The publication Thief," Liesel is nine at the beginning of the novel, when her younger brother dies and she is provided up by her mommy to live with Hans and also Rosa Hubermann in the little town of Molching. Liesel is traumatized by her brother"s death, however Hans proves to be a calming foster father; with his help, she learns to read and also soon find comfort in the composed word. End the food of the novel, she befriends Max, the Jew that arrives come hide from the Nazis in the Hubermanns" basement, and falls in love v Rudy Steiner, her ideal friend. Ultimately, Liesel learns the strength of words to influence humans to act towards both good and evil together she experiences the beauty and the brutality of humanity. Death describes her together a "perpetual survivor," and also Liesel survives Hitler"s reign while numerous of those who she loves perish together a result of civilization War II and also the Holocaust.

Max Vandenburg

A 23-year-old Jew that hides native the Nazis in the Hubermanns" basement. Max was a fist-fighter growing up, and as a teenager he resolves not to dice without a fight. Max is wracked through anguish and guilt end leaving his household to conserve himself, however he involves befriend Liesel together the two share their respective nightmares. Their friendship grows really deep, and Liesel reads come Max every night when he falls comatose. Max makes two books for Liesel, both of i beg your pardon involve thinly-veiled allegories about their friendship and Nazi Germany: an portrayed story called "The Standover Man," and also a long book of sketches that includes the quick story "The word Shaker." Max pipeline the home after Hans offers an old Jew being marched come a concentration camp a item of bread in public. Liesel later sees him amongst such a procession, on his means to Dachau. Max survives the camp, however, and also reunites with Liesel quickly after the war"s end.

Hans Hubermann

Liesel"s silver-eyed foster father. An amateur accordion player, Hans is a tall, gentle man with a impressive amount the integrity and also bravery -- Hans" compassion to adjust a strong example because that Liesel, that is soothed by his presence. His life was saved by a Jew Erik Vandenberg in human being War I, and he keeps his promise to Erik"s widow through hiding her son Max native the Nazis. A professional house painter by trade, Hans is horrified by the Nazis" persecution of the Jews, and also he bring scrutiny to himself by paint over anti-Semitic slurs ~ above Jewish-owned homes and also businesses. Hans" impulsive kindness at some point gets the in trouble, and he is conscripted to offer in a dangerous wait raid restore unit. Hans survives this assignment, yet ultimately dies in the waiting raid that hits Molching in ~ the finish of the novel.

Rosa Hubermann

Hans" wife and Liesel"s foster mother. A squat woman who provides some money law laundry for well-off neighbors, Rosa has actually a fiery attitude and also frequently employs profanity, specifically towards those whom she loves. Fatality describes Rosa together a an excellent woman for a crisis: she maintains stimulate in the household through complicated times, yet her heart is steadily beat under by several the events in the novel, e.g. Max"s illness, Hans" conscription, and also the wait raids.

Rudy Steiner

Liesel"s finest friend. Among six Steiner children, Rudy is gallant and also impetuous -- the is best known for painting his face black and also running approximately a monitor imitating Jesse Owens. Rudy is encouraged throughout the novel by his love because that Liesel; in ~ one allude he retrieves Liesel"s book from the icy cold river and also asks her for a kiss. By the end of the novel, Liesel has come to love Rudy together well; Rudy die in an waiting raid in ~ the end of the novel, and also Liesel kisses his corpse.

Ilsa Hermann

The mayor"s wife. An clever woman through her own library, Ilsa has actually spent decades mourning the death of her kid Johann, that froze to fatality in 1918, the final year of civilization War I. Ilsa takes a liking to Liesel: she witnesses Liesel stealing a publication from the book burning and also invites Liesel right into her residence library come read. Ilsa provides Liesel a blank book and also encourages her to write, and not come live the rest of her life in despair. Ilsa and also her husband take Liesel right into their house after Hans and also Rosa space killed.

Werner Meminger

Liesel"s six-year-old brother who dies in ~ the beginning of the book. Liesel is haunted through the memory of Werner and also consistently experiences nightmares around his death for months after getting here in Molching. In ~ one point, Liesel think to herself the in her mind, Werner will certainly be 6 years old forever.

Paula Meminger

Liesel"s mother, who provides her increase for fostering by the Hubermann"s in ~ the start of the novel. Liesel"s father was taken away by the Nazis because that being a Communist, and also Paula meets the very same fate. As Liesel comes to realize, by giving her daughter away, Paula conserves her from persecution.

Tommy Muller

A friend and classmate the Liesel"s. Defined as a twitchy kid, Tommy has actually hearing difficulties due come a chronic ear infection. Tommy is usually helpless and relies ~ above the assistance of his friend Rudy Steiner.

Frau Diller

The very pro-Nazi shopkeeper who refuses company to anyone that does no salute and also say "Heil Hitler" ~ above entering her corner store.

Frau Holtzapfel

A neighborhood of the Hubermanns who has feuded with Rosa because that a lengthy time, spitting ~ above the Hubermanns" door top top a everyday basis. Frau Holtzapfel agrees to avoid this practice if Liesel will read to she on a continuous basis. She has actually two sons serving in the German army in Russia, Michael and Robert. Robert die at the battle of Stalingrad, and Michael returns through a bloodied hand. Frau Holtzapfel is emotionally damaged by the death of one of her sons, and after Michael commits suicide, she quiet awaits Death.

Hans Junior

Hans and Rosa"s only son. Indoctrinated by Nazi propaganda, Hans Jr. Is awkward of his father"s kindness towards the Jews and accuses that of gift a coward because that not sustaining Hitler. He offer in the German military in Russia and stops returning house for holidays due to the fact that of his animosity in the direction of his father. An additional soldier, Michael Holtzapfel, speak Rosa the he heard the Hans Jr. Is still alive, but no other indication is given about Hans Junior"s can be fried fate.

Trudy Hubermann

Hans and Rosa"s adult daughter.

Franz Deutscher

The Hitler Youth leader described as a sadist by Rudy. At one point, Franz viciously beats Rudy increase in the street for throwing a absent at his head.

Erik Vandenburg

Max"s father who served in people War I through Hans. Erik conserves Hans" life by volunteering him because that a creating assignment ~ above the day he and everyone rather in his regiment are killed in battle. Erik"s death comes at Max is very young. Erik teach Hans to play the accordion, and Hans" accordion was initially Erik"s.

Arthur Berg

The fifteen-year-old leader the a little group of thieves. The team mainly steals food from farms, and Arthur is an extremely kind come the others, divvying up your gains fairly and sharing with everyone the food lugged to him by Rudy and also Liesel. Arthur gives the two a bag of chestnuts before leaving town. He is changed as leader by a brand-new boy, Viktor Chemmel.

Viktor Chemmel

After Arthur Berg, the 2nd leader of a team of thieves. Unequal Arthur, Viktor is wealthy and also steals because that excitement. Also unlike Arthur, Viktor is an extremely domineering and cruel to the others; he savagely to win Rudy for his insolence. Viktor is the one who throws Liesel"s publication into the freezing cold Amper River.

Walter Kugler

Max"s ideal friend. Walter and also Max started as fighting partners growing up, yet soon ended up being friends. In the early stages of the Holocaust, Walter help Max hide indigenous the Nazis and arranges because that Max to remain at Hans Hubermann"s.

Frau Heinrich

Woman native the foster care company who facilitates the transport of Liesel come the Hubermanns.


An ornery old male with a habit of whistling.

Sister Maria

One that Liesel"s teachers, a nun who delivers corporal punishment to insolent students.

Ludwig Schmeikl

A classmate that Liesel"s. Ludwig taunts Liesel for not being able come read, and also Liesel beats that up. Ludwig is hurt at the book burning, and Liesel help him acquire away indigenous the crowd, climate apologizes for attacking him.

Andy Schmeikl

Ludwig"s older brother.

Heinz Hermann

Mayor of Molching and Ilsa"s husband.

Johann Hermann

Ilsa"s son who froze to fatality in 1918, presumably when fighting in world War I.

Fritz Hammer

An enlarge boy who introduces Liesel and also Rudy come the corridor of thieves once Arthur Berg was your leader.

Otto Sturm

A classmate of Liesel"s that delivers food come the church every week. Liesel and also Rudy punch him off his bicycle and also rob him.

Stephan Schneider

Hans" Sergeant in people War I.

Thomas Mamer

A shop owner who captures Rudy because that trying come steal a potato and threatens to contact the police, however lets the go as soon as he is persuaded of how poor Rudy is.

Kurt Steiner

Rudy"s older brother.

Barbara Steiner

Rudy"s mother.

Alex Steiner

Rudy"s father, a tailor that does not hate the Jews, but was somewhat relieved once the Jewish tailors contending with that were driven out the town. Alex refuses to let Rudy be inducted into an military training academy and is punished through conscription. After ~ the war, Alex, who has lost his whole family in a battle raid, reopens his store and also is kept firm by Liesel.

Boris Schipper

Sergeant that the wait Raid unique Unit, of i beg your pardon Hans i do not care a member.

Reinhold Zucker

A 23-year-old member of Hans" waiting Raid one-of-a-kind Unit. Explained as one arrogant hothead and also a poor gambler, that accuses Hans that cheating in ~ cards. Later, ~ above a truck, he needs that Hans switch seats through him; as soon as the van crashes, Reinhold is dead.

Michael Holtzapfel

One of Frau Holtzapfel"s sons, Michael offered in the German army in the fight of Stalingrad, whereby his hand to be severely wounded. At a makeshift hospital, that sees his brothers Robert die. He return home and also later commits suicide, unable to live v the guilt of having lived while his brother died.

Robert Holtzapfel

One the Frau Holtzapfel"s sons. Robert"s legs are blown turn off at the battle of Stalingrad, and also he dies in a makeshift hospital with his brother Michael through his side.

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Adolf Hitler

Historical Fuhrer that Nazi Germany. While no a personality in the novel per se, Hitler"s propaganda and its results -- the war, the Holocaust -- attributes as the novel"s main antagonist.

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