"Did you ever hear the one about the Englishman, the Irishman, and the Scotsman who were all lined up in front of a firing squad?
Why would Simon be telling jokes here and now?
" The Scotsman says, I'd like to hear "Scotland the Brave", "The Irishman says, I'd like to hear "Danny Boy", and "The Englishman says "I'd like to be shot first"
As a spy, Michael's new mission is to get into an elite team Nazi's, and stop an Assassination attempt. The only way to do this, is agree with Simon, and turn his parents in for hiding Simon, a British Jew. Although he does not want to do this, he ultimately does. When Simon is taken into custody, he decides that to keep his secrets from spreading, he will be killed. Too do this he makes a play on words, by saying he wants to be the first one shot, and so runs away, and is killed.
'"I'd like to be shot first."' Simon yanked himself free, decked the closet SS man, and sprinted down the tunnel. Whistles blew. People shouted. Shots rang out. Simon Fell. No! Without thinking, I ran to him, but luckily, others did to. One of the SS was already kneeling down beside him when I got there. "'He's dead,"' he said."
I think that this scene is important, because it is very dramatic, and emotional. Also, Simon, a main character, and a close friend to Michael, sacrifices himself for the greater good. This ultimately leads to Michael reaching his goal, which is also important, but it costs him a dear friend.