Summary and Analysis
Part 10: The Book Thief: The End of the World (Part II)
Himmel Street is bombed without warning. Death collects souls, beginning with Frau Holtzapfel, and then Frau Diller. Next are the Fiedlers and Pfiffikus. Then the Steiners. Death pays close attention to Rudy, the boy who painted himself black and hoped for a kiss from Liesel. He makes Death cry. Finally, Death gets to the Hubermanns. He takes Hans with the silver eyes, a soul that rises to meet Death, which, Death says, are the best kinds of souls. Then Rosa with her large heart.
As Death makes his way to the next city, he notices the LSE shouting near a pile of rubble. From it emerges Liesel with her book. She cries out for her Papa and sees an LSE man carrying his accordion case. She takes it from him and then begins to see the bodies around her and drops the accordion. When she finds Rudy, she tells him to wake up, that she loves him, and she kisses him on the lips. Next she finds Hans and Rosa and sits down between them. She remembers coming to their house for the first time, their memories together. She asks the LSE to get her Papa's accordion. She places it next to Hans's body and weeps until the LSE take her away. Death sees that Liesel's black book is tossed onto a garbage truck. He climbs up and takes it, and it is from this book that he tells Liesel's story. The LSE return for the accordion.
In this chapter, Liesel's world on Himmel Street falls apart. Those she loves most are killed in the bombing, but she is saved by her words as she sits in the basement and writes her story. Liesel finally kisses Rudy, but only after he's dead.
When she discovers the bodies of her Mama and Papa, she finds it hardest to look at her Papa. Death tells us that it was him that she loved most. In much the same way that she has seen visions of ghosts, living and dead, before, she sees her Papa rise and play his accordion, and then disappear again.