Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Book Thief

Christina and Jonah
Post #1 - Introduction
Post #2- Organizing The History
Post #3 - Photo Project
Post #4 - Individual Responsibility and Resistance 
Post #5 - Perpetrators, Collaborators, Bystanders, and Rescuers
Post #6 - Final Project - The Suitcase Project


  1. Hello — My name is Christina. I'm pleased to be able to work on this project with everyone.

    The Holocaust was the mass genocide of a nation, anti-semitism in its most extreme form. It was a plan, carried out to a large extent, to obliterate the Jewish race, as one man who had come to power, Adolf Hitler, believed they were to blame for Germany's flaws and faults.
    People of Jewish origin or descent first had their rights removed. They were depersonalized to "Jews," and were discriminated against and hated in society. They were eventually taken to camps in which they were dehumanized and worked to death, brutally murdered.
    This not only killed 6 million people, but it damaged and scarred many.
    To this day, discrimation still rears its ugly head, and its our job to prevent it from resulting in another Holocaust.

  2. Hello, my name is Jonah. I am pleased to be learning more about the Holocaust with you. The Holocaust was an attempt to eliminate the race of the Jews. Germans started blaming the loss of world war one on the Jews. They soon started blaming most of their problems on the Jews and made all Jewish people wear the Star of David. They soon started placing the Jews in Ghettos. It soon escalated from that when they started transporting the Jews from the ghettos to concentration camps where they were literally worked to death. What have you enjoyed about our book so far? What do you think will happen next in our book? How has the Holocaust impacted us today? I look forward to learning more about the holocaust with you.

    1. I've enjoyed so much about The Book Thief! Firstly, the point of view. Death is such an interesting, omni-present force so present in The Holocaust. Also, the way in which the book is written is so informal, yet mature.
      I've read ahead, actually, so I'll keep the spoilers to myself.
      The Holocaust, other than the obvious of taking millions of lives, has impacted society in such a way that keeps everyone on their toes, worried it will happen again.
      What do you like about the book? How are you interpreting it?

  3. This book focuses mainly on a young, German girl living in Munich. Although not a Jew, she struggles as well, often going to bed hungry or beaten and weary. This has shown me that even though the Jews were dehumanized and had their rights taken away, Germans didn't have a luxuriously easy life, either, and I think it's important to see both sides of that... The Jews as well as the Germans, the predator and the prey.
    The setting is 1939-1942, the timeframe in which Hitler was at the peak of his attempted assimilation. The character, though understanding enough of the current situation to stay silent when necessary, obviously isn't able to look back at the horror in hindsight, as it's only taking place.
    I think Markus Zusak heard accounts of the Holocaust, and wanted to write about it without having lived it himself. Thus, it became a narrative story, yet was still able to give insight about the monstrosity now known as the Holocaust.
    As I stated, I have read ahead. At the moment, how far along are you in The Book Thief?
    Do you think the way Zusak recounts life in Germany at the time is accurate? Why do you think he chose to write it in such an unusual format, in such an unique manner?

  4. Hello it’s Jonah again, what I have learned about the holocaust is that a lot of children were displaced for their own safety as in the book, Liesel is on a train going to live with her new foster parents in Munich. Another thing is that a lot of small German towns had a lot of German soldiers roaming around the town and most hosted Nazi parades. You find this out when Liesel, Hans and Rudy are watching a Nazi parade go down their street. Some things that were going on in Europe at that time was that the Jewish population stood at almost 9 million in the countries that Hitler would occupy during world war 2. What are you enjoying about the book so far? What makes it so attention grabbing? Who is your favorite character? And why are they your favorite character? I am really enjoying our book so far I can’t wait to find out what happens next! Until next time, Jonah.

  5. In 1933, Adolf Hitler was instated as Chancellor. After Germany invaded Poland, World War II was started by Britain and France, who declared war on Germany, as they were bound by treaty to Poland.
    Germany took over and issued the Jewish into ghettos, and instructed them to wear the star of David. Soon after, he later deported them into concentration camps, or death camps.
    The Nazi occupation affected my character, a German, less so than it would have a Jew. She was still able to attend school, go into shops without being kicked out, and so on. However, what did change for her was, due to the lack of safety, she was deported with her family to another town. On the way there, her brother died, and she lost them, resulting in her living in a foster home. Had there been safety and security, she would not have been moved, and would likely still have her mother and brother. Although things are mainly the same as far as rights or freedoms go, she has lost a general sense of safety, and, of course, is not allowed to own a book... Something she does not take into high regard.

    Although not my vision of Liesel, I imagine her foster family (Hans and Rosa Hubermann) similar to this: http://digitalassets.ushmm.org/photoarchives/detail.aspx?id=1174961&search=girl&index=11

    When Liesel is allowed to enter the house of Ilsa Hermann, the mayor's wife, and read any of the books she so chooses from their vast library, I imagine a scene such as this, except, obviously, with Liesel in place of the boy:

    How far into The Book Thief are you? I'm somewhere in part 6, in the 300s. Do you think you can get into part 4, page 170? I'm concerned I'll spoil something for you in future posts.

  6. Currently in the book they have found a Jew and they were hiding him in their basement. The Jews name is Max Vandenberg. The book is still focusing on Liesel and her struggles but is starting to lean more towards the war and what’s happening with Hitler and Liesels Hitler youth Group. Meanwhile her foster parents are struggling with the Jew that they are hiding in their basement.

    The time is around 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor, Germany invaded and conquered Poland, Poland made a treaty and was helping Germany with the war, Britain and France declared war on Germany, Nazi’s were moving the Jews to Ghettos.
    Here is the link for the picture:
    This picture is of a Hitler youth group watching a German officer talking at a Nazi rally trying to inspire kids to be more like Hitler. It relates to the book because Liesel and Rudy are doing more stuff with their Hitler youth group.
    I really like your picture on what you think the Hubermanns would look like. That’s exactly how I was picturing them to look lie in my head. I also like your picture of the kid in the library that’s what I thought liesel would look like in the library.
    I am on page 325 (I read it last weekend and got caught up). You shouldn’t be worried about spoiling something in the book considering I’m all caught up.
    What has been your favorite part in the book so far? What makes this book so attention grabbing? Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

  7. In the book, what is happening is the war has started but nothing major has happened in the town of Munich but the citizens are preparing for the worst, the town is running low on supplies from food to fresh water to cigarettes. Some resistance that liesel and the hubermanns have been showing is hiding a Jew in their basement. This is resistance because their completely disobeying a huge rule that could result in death. People would resist because not all Germans completely agreed with Hitler’s ideas. That was kind of the only thing people could do. People may have also done this because it may have gave them an adrenaline rush and made them feel good. What impact do you think Max has on Liesel? What is your favorite part of the book and why? Thanks!

  8. (post #4)
    h, great! I'm glad we're on the same page—quite literally!
    As you stated, the Hubermanns have taken in a Jew—a very large offense. From research, I have noted taking in a Jew could mean public execution for you and your family, being shot on the spot, as well as being sent to a concentration camp. The risk is great, and the punishment is immense. And yet, they do it anyways; despite the fact it is illegal, despite everyone being instructed to loathe Jews, despite their own lives being on the line, the Hubermanns hide the Jew—an act of resistance.
    However, it's wasn't as easy as it sounds to hide someone in those times. There are officials, policing and intruding, investigating inside the houses. They must resort to extreme measures, keeping the Jew in the the cold, dark basement, to prevent him from being found.
    Although more insignificant, the young boy, Rudy, rebels in a very strong way for someone of his age and status—he refuses to correctly answer the question of when Hitler was born. He endures physical beatings and malicious verbal assaults, and yet, he continues to deliberately answer incorrectly. This small, yet powerful response has a vast amount of meaning behind it, and is also a form of resistance.
    The resistance depicted in The Book Thief is that of hiding the Jewish. I found a similar story about a woman, Irena Sendler, who part of an underground Jewish resistance. She aided over 2,500 Jewish children, issuing them false documents, and smuggling them out in coffins, potato sacks, etc. When the Nazis learned of what she was doing, they arrested and imprisoned her, torturing her by breaking her feet and legs, which crippled her for life. However, she refused to betray the families she had saved.
    Most people go along in life with the motto “ignorance is bliss.” If I don’t see it, it’s not happening. If I don’t cause it, why should I help? I’ve realized that simply existing isn’t enough. Just because you don’t cause harm to others doesn’t mean it’s not happening—and so, I believe, being a responsible citizen entails standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, speaking for those without a voice, and whenever need, oppose those who oppress others. Most of all… resist.
    Would you say finishing the book by the end of this week is reasonable? I think I can.