Paul Bäumer (BOY-muhr) The sensitive twenty-year-old narrator of the novel, who has written poems and a play entitled "Saul." Paul reaches manhood during three years' service as a soldier in the Second Company of the German army during World War I. His loss of innocence during the cataclysm is the focus of the author's antiwar sentiment.
Tjaden (JAH-duhn) A thin, nineteen-year-old soldier with an immense appetite. A former locksmith, Tjaden is unable to control his urine during sleep and draws ridicule from Himmelstoss. Tjaden's drive for revenge reveals the negative side of an otherwise peaceable personality.
Müller (MEW-luhr) A scholarly young man who continues studying his physics books and thinking of exams. Pragmatic to a fault, he inherits Kemmerich's soft airman's boots, then wills them to Paul as Müller lies dying with an agonizing stomach wound.
Stanislaus "Kat" Katczinsky (STAN-ihs-laws kuh-ZIHN-skee) About forty years old, Kat, a crusty, jocular cobbler and veteran of the battlefield, serves as a noncommissioned tutor and father figure to Paul and the others, who depend on him for locating food, arranging for light duties, and helping them cope with the exigencies of survival, such as listening for incoming shells and sensing an attack. Not the least of his skills is the ability to joke in order to take the men's minds off bombardment.
Albert Kropp (kruhp) The best student in Paul's class, he joins Paul in rebelling against Himmelstoss' bullying. Albert is promoted to lance corporal, then threatens suicide after his leg is amputated at thigh level. Taking comfort from his companions, he resigns himself to an artificial limb.
Leer (lair) Paul's mature schoolmate and math whiz who titillates his comrades with details of sexual intercourse, which the others have yet to experience. In the summer of 1918, Leer bleeds to death from a hip wound.
Franz Kemmerich (frahnz KEHM-muh-rihk) Paul's slim childhood friend and fellow volunteer who longs to be a forester. In bed 26 at St. Joseph's, his rapid decline and death from a leg amputation is Paul's first eyewitness experience with personal loss.
Haie Westhus (HY-ee VEHST-hoos) A nineteen-year-old peat digger, Haie prefers a military career to a lifetime of manual labor but dies of a back wound, never to achieve his ambition to be a village policeman.
Detering (DEE-tuh-rihng) An Oldenburg peasant who hates to hear horses bellowing from pain and is plagued by worries about his wife, who must tend their farm alone. Filled with longing for home, when cherry trees are in bloom, he deserts. After his capture, he is sent before a field tribunal and never heard from again.
Kantorek (KAHN-tow-rihk) The hometown schoolmaster, a chauvinistic sloganeer, who fills his students' heads with impassioned speeches about duty to the Fatherland and sends them letters that depict them as "Iron Youth." As a member of the local reserves, he is tormented by his former student Mittelstaedt, who teams him with the school janitor to demonstrate how poor a soldier Kantorek turns out to be.
Corporal Himmelstoss (HIHM-muhl-shtahs) A former postman and wartime drill instructor caught up in an illusion of power, Himmelstoss demonstrates bullying and tyranny, incurring wrath for humiliating two bed-wetters. At the front, Himmelstoss proves a sorry soldier, requiring Paul's prodding to keep him from cowering in the trenches during an attack. After the company cook goes on leave, Himmelstoss assumes the post and redeems himself by rescuing Haie.
Joseph Behm (YO-suhf baym) A chubby teenager who hesitates to volunteer for the army, then joins three months before he would have been drafted. Blinded on the battlefield, Joseph wanders helplessly into the line of fire and becomes the first of his classmates to die.
Lieutenant Bertink (BAYR-tihnk) Commander of the Second Company, Bertink sets a worthy example for his men, whose respect he earns. He doles out light punishment for Tjaden and Kropp and demonstrates heroism by knocking out an advancing flamethrower.
Kindervater (KIHN-duhr-VAH-tuhr) Himmelstoss forces him, a bed-wetter, to share a bed with Tjaden, also a bed-wetter. Ironically, his name means "child father."
Ginger Second Company's red-haired cook who worries that he has cooked enough rations for one hundred fifty men when only eighty remain; he cares more about conserving food than about the number of fallen soldiers.
Tiejen (TEE-juhn) A soldier who calls for his mother and holds off a doctor with a dagger, then falls dead.
Sergeant Oellrich (UHRL-rihk) A sniper who takes pride in the accuracy of his shooting.
Heinrich Bredemeyer (HYN-rihk BRAY-duh-MY-r) A soldier who informs Paul's mother about front-line dangers.
Mittelstaedt (MIHT-tuhl-shteht) Paul's friend who commands the home guard and uses his authority to humiliate Kantorek, their former schoolmaster, even parroting some of Kantorek's favorite sneers. To circumvent punishment, Mittelstaedt relies on his ongoing relationship with the daughter of his superior officer.
Boettcher (BETT-chuhr) A spruce, proud soldier, he was formerly a porter, a staff employee, at Paul's school. Boettcher shares with Kantorek the job of pushing a barrow to fetch bread.
Josef Hamacher (YO-suhf HAH-mah-kuhr) An inmate at the Catholic hospital who shares a ward with Albert, Paul, and Peter, Hamacher has a "shooting license" because he is considered brain damaged and shares inside information about the Dead Room.
Chief Surgeon A staff member at the Catholic hospital, he delights in experimental operations on the flat feet of soldiers, whom he ruins for life.
Little Peter An undersized, curly-haired ward mate suffering a severe lung wound. He resists being taken to the "Dead Room," then amazes his buddies by becoming the first patient to return.
Franz Wächter (frahnz VEHK-tuhr) A ward mate, he suffers an arm wound that hemorrhages during the night. Failing rapidly, Franz is taken to the Dead Room and never returns.
Sister Libertine A nun at the Catholic hospital, she cheerfully assists Paul and Albert and jubilantly wheels Peter back from the Dead Room.
Berger (BAYR-guhr) The most powerful soldier in the Second Company. During the summer of 1918, he commits an error in judgment and is wounded while trying to rescue a messenger dog under fire.
Gérard Duval (zhuh-RAHRD doo-VAHL) A French soldier, a typesetter in civilian life, he is knifed to death by Paul. Seized with guilt for killing him, Paul searches Duval's wallet for an address and discovers letters and pictures of Duval's wife and child.
Johann Lewandowski (YOH-hahn LAY-vahn-DOW-skee) A forty-year-old Polish veteran, he has occupied a ward in the Catholic hospital for ten months while recovering from an abdominal wound. His wardmates keep watch while he makes love with his wife, Marja, whom he hasn't seen for two years.
Kemmerich's Mother A hometown friend of the Bäumer family, Franz's mother humiliates her son by following him to the station and imploring Paul to watch over her son. Later, unable to bear the thought of Franz suffering at length, she forces Paul to take a strong oath that the report of her son's instant death is the truth.
Paul's Mother A long-suffering, self-sacrificing woman with recurrent cancer, Paul's mother scrimps to provide him with potato-cakes, whortleberry jam, and warm woolen underpants. During his last night at home on his first furlough, she sits late by his bedside to express her concern for his welfare. Later, she receives treatment at a charity ward in Luisa Hospital.
Paul's Sister Scarcely described in the text, Paul's sister greets him at the door when he returns on leave and helps him tie his tie when he dresses in civilian clothes. Together, Paul and his sister wait in line for meat scraps, but come home empty-handed.
Paul's Father Sharing a strained relationship with his son, Paul's father accompanies his son to the local tavern and later visits him at the camp on the moors before Paul returns to the front.
Three French Girls Occupants of a house across the canal from Paul's billet, the girls, unable to buy food, welcome soldiers who pay their way with army rations. The brunette, Paul's pick of the three, proves more interested in food than in the men who supply it.
Kaiser The authority figure who leads Germany during the Great War and whom Paul's friends perceive as the cause of the war.