The Book Thief

by: Markus Zusak

Important Quotations Explained

“You could argue that Liesel Meminger had it easy. She did have it easy compared to Max Vandenburg. Certainly, her brother had practically died in her arms. Her mother abandoned her. But anything was better than being a Jew.”

This quote appears near the end of Part Three, right after Max has made his successful escape from Stuttgart to Molching, with false papers and a copy of MKPF. At this point, Max has just become a significant character in the book, and the Jewish perspective is just beginning to emerge. The quote acts to place the plot and the concerns of the main characters in a broader context, and to serve as reminder that no matter how hard things got for characters like Liesel and Hans, their lives were much safer and easier than those of many others during this period. Instead Death tells us that our pity for Liesel should be mitigated by the knowledge that she was not the only one who suffered under Hitler, and that many people suffered a great deal more simply because they were Jewish. Although Liesel lost her mother and brother, the Jews of Germany and Eastern Europe often lost as much and more.