You know something, Liesel, I was thinking. You’re not a thief at all. That woman lets you in. She even leaves you cookies, for Christ’s sake. I don’t call that stealing. Stealing is what the army does. Taking your father, and mine.All those rich Nazis up there, on Grande Strasse, Gelb Strasse, Heide Strasse.
When you take one of those books?... Well? It feels good, doesn’t it?
How does it feel, anyway?
Money, food, jewelry. Whatever I can get my hands on.
That is the one masterstroke. That’s if a kid walks in while I’m inside. I’ll give it to them to calm them down.
And what do you plan to steal?
And the teddy bear?
What am I waiting for? Your socks are cold and wet, lucky there’s another pair in the toolbox.
I guess I’m better at leaving things behind than stealing them.
A few weeks later, the toolbox ended up being good for at least something. Rudy cleared it of screwdrivers and hammers and chose instead to store in it many of the Steiners’ valuables for the next air raid. The only item that remained was the teddy bear.
My mother! She won’t come out. She’s sitting at the kitchen table.
AIR RAID SIRENS
Can I go in?
Holtzapfel! Holtzapfel, get out here, you miserable old swine! If you don’t come out, we’re all going to die here on the street!
AIR RAID SIRENS
What do I say?
Frau Holtzapfel, please!
Frau Holtzapfel, we have to go. We’ll die if we stay here. You still have one son left. Everyone’s waiting for you. The bombs will blow your head off. If you don’t come, I’ll stop coming to read to you, and that means you’ve lost your only friend.
Just leave her, Liesel, we have to go! If she wants to die, that’s her business.