80 pages 2 hours read

Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2005

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Chapters 25-32

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4: “The Standover Man”

Chapter 25 Summary: “The Accordionist”

Death relates Hans’s earlier life. During World War I, a Jewish friend named Erik Vandenburg taught Hans to play the accordion. Before a battle, Erik told a superior officer that Hans had excellent penmanship, and the officer took him away to help with writing letters. This saved Hans’s life, and Erik lost his own. Hans gives Vandenburg’s widow his name and address and offers his help if she is ever in need.

In later years, Hans sticks up for the Jews in Molching and the Nazi party blackballs him. One day, a stranger who is trying to help Vandenburg’s son escape Stuttgart approaches Hans.

Chapter 26 Summary: “A Good Girl”

Max Vandenburg arrives exhausted in the Hubermann kitchen in November 1940. Liesel happens to walk into the room, but Hans assures Max that this is no cause for alarm because she is a good girl. Liesel later thinks, “For the next hour, the good girl lay wide awake in bed, listening to the quiet fumbling of sentences in the kitchen. One wild card was yet to be played” (61).