The Book Thief Part 7-Part 8 The Sound of Sirens - The Promise Keeper's Wife Summary

In September the sirens rang out and the family left Max behind, as they escaped to the shelter of the Fiedler family's basement. They and nineteen other people waited for either a bomb to hit the house or to hear the all clear signal. That night the all clear signal sounded and the family returned to home to check on Max.

Max revealed he had snuck upstairs and looked out through the curtains at the stars. The stars burned his eyes, because he had not seen the outside world for twenty-two months.

The first air raid had been a false alarm, but on September 19th, it was real. The same people gathered in the Fiedler basement. Liesel, to relieve her tension, read aloud from The Whistler. Soon everyone was listening to her read and Liesel realized this was her gift, much like Papa played the accordion. After hearing the all clear signal, the adults thanked her for giving them something else to focus on that night. The family returned home and found a healthy Max waiting for them.

The next day Frau Holtzapfel came to the door to talk to Rosa; since they hated each other, this was a surprising occurrence. She got to the point right away, she wanted Liesel to read the book to her. Frau Holtzapfel liked the book and wanted to hear how it ended. The bargain was Liesel would read and Frau Holtzapfel would stop spitting on their door and she would give Rosa her coffee ration. Liesel was to read to her twice a week, starting immediately.

Two weeks later, Jews were paraded through the streets of Molching. They could barely walk and were dying; one old man was especially struggling to walk. Hans could not bear to watch him repeatedly fall onto the street, so he handed the man a piece of bread.

Because of what Hans did they both were whipped by a soldier. It was only after he was helped off the street that Hans remembered Max and asked, "Oh my God, Liesel, what have I done?"

Max left that same night with a suitcase stuffed with food and clothes. He was supposed to meet Hans four days later at the Amper River far from Molching, but instead he only stayed long enough to write a note. When Hans arrived at the spot he found the note from Max, it said "You've done enough." He never saw Max again.

Papa, the night Max left, sat in his kitchen and waited for someone to come and take him away. Rosa and Liesel could not console him. He felt like an idiot for helping the old man, which was the reason Max had to leave the house, but no one ever came for Hans.

One day Liesel saw some men in long black coats walk down her street. She thought it was the Gestapo; she told Papa and he went outside to meet them. They didn't want Hans, instead they went to the Steiner house; they wanted Rudy.

The two Gestapo men had come to see Rudy's parents to convince them to allow Rudy to go to a school for elite children. Rudy's mother didn't want her child to go with the men. Both her and her husband had heard of the cruel treatment the students at such schools had to endure. Finally, the men left and Rudy wasn't going to go to the school. The consequences of this decision would be felt later and made Rudy wish he had gone to the school.

The decision to offer Rudy a place at the school had taken place the previous week at Rudy's school. He and two other boys were called into the school office and told to submit to a physical examination. The nurse who was there explained to Rudy's teacher they were creating a "new class of physically and mentally advanced Germans."

After the examination the boys heard the adults say they would take two of the boys. Rudy was one of those boys, this was why the Gestapo came to his house.

One day, in November, a letter came for Hans telling him he has been accepted into the NSDAP (Nazi Party). Then two days later, another letter arrived telling him he was being drafted into the German army. He, Rosa and Liesel were stunned by the news.

Liesel, some days later, found out Mr. Steiner was also going to war. Mrs. Steiner told her, if they come for your child, you are supposed to let them take them. Mr. Steiner was being punished because he wouldn't allow them to take Rudy.

Hans and Alex Steiner went to the local bar and got drunk the night before Hans left for basic training. Although his wife was not happy with him, the next day at the train station, she was overcome with emotion at the thought of him leaving. Hans told Liesel to take care of her Mama and his accordion. He promised to play it for her when he returned from war.

Rudy's father left for war four days later. Rudy told Liesel he was going to find the Führer and kill him, but after a while he changed his mind.

Liesel, one night, found Rosa sitting on her bed with the accordion strapped to her chest. She did not play it, but needed it for the comfort it provided her.

Hans tried to keep the family together the best he could, even during the air raids. Liesel was the one who provided comfort, by reading her book to all the people taking shelter in the neighbor's basement. Then one day a group of Jews were paraded through town and Hans gave one a piece of bread. Because of this act the family was torn apart. But, their family was not the only one wrenched apart, Rudy's was also, because his parents would not let him go with the Gestapo to attend a special school.

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