Character List and Analysis
Ilsa Hermann is the mayor's wife. She lives at 8 Grande Strasse and gets to know Liesel because Rosa does the mayor's washing and ironing. Many of the people living in Molching believe that Frau Hermann is insane. She has fluffy hair and walks around in her bathrobe during the day. The reality is that she is depressed over her son's death in World War I. She is the one who sees Liesel steal The Shoulder Shrug from the bonfire during Hitler's party in Molching. Frau Hermann invites Liesel into her library and wishes to share her books with Liesel, giving Liesel one of the best gifts she's ever known. Frau Hermann also leaves the window open for Liesel so that she can come in and take books as she wishes. Frau Hermann leaves other gifts — cookies and a dictionary. She lets Liesel know that she is welcome to come to the front door, too. Frau Hermann also gives Liesel a journal to write her story in, what becomes The Book Thief, and is there to take Liesel into her home after the Himmel Street bombing kills Liesel's family. In many ways, Liesel and Frau Hermann are able to save one another.