Summary and Analysis
Part 10: The Book Thief:
The Ninety-Eighth Day
For 97 days after Hans's return, everything on Himmel Street is fine. But on the 98th day, the Jews are marched through Molching again, this time to a neighboring town to do the clean-up that the army doesn't want to do, and then marched back through to camp. Liesel watches, searching for Max. One of the women in Molching views the marching Jews as a bad omen, and she is right.
Michael Holtzapfel hangs himself and leaves a note for Frau Holtzapfel saying that he loves her, but he's going to meet Robert. Hans has to tell Frau Holtzapfel and stand with her while she hugs her son's body. Then, he walks her home.
Here, the guilt of living, or survivor's guilt, can cause people to take extreme actions, even commit suicide. The cold and snow of Stalingrad extends all the way into Frau Holtzapfel's kitchen.