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Introduction to The Book Thief


... starvation was common Josef Mengele: notorious for cruel experiments using children attempting to find the genetic formula ensuring Aryan women gave birth to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to The Book Thief

Introduction to The Book Thief
ENG 2D Novel Study
A Quick Overview
  • A story set in Germany during WWII
  • Captures the life of a normal young girl growing
    up during such a time
  • Has won numerous awards and was on the New York
    Times Best Seller list for over 190 weeks!
  • Written by Australian author Markus Zusak

Important Characters
Death A supernatural being who serves as the
narrator. He is very busy carrying away the
souls of mankind after they have died and sees
the world through colour. It is apparent that he
has done this job for millennia and as he watches
over Liesel we get a sense of his struggle to
understand mankinds capacity for good and evil.
  • Liesel Meminger
  • Is the book thief
  • Forced to live with foster parents in Munich
    Germany at the onset of WWII
  • When she learns to read she begins stealing books
    whenever possible.
  • Max Vandenburg
  • A 23 year-old Jew
  • Father served with Liesels foster-father
    during WWI.
  • Hides in their basement and develops a
    friendship with Liesel

Hans Hubermann Liesels foster father who is a
tall, gentle man with compassion and bravery that
Liesel admires. It is Hans who teaches Liesel to
read and soothes her from her endless
nightmares. Rosa Hubermann A stern woman who
has a kind heart but does not show it as often or
as softly as her husband. Rudy Steiner An
amusing character the same age as Liesel who
regularly requests kisses from Liesel. He
becomes Liesels partner in crime.
  • In 1923, Hitler and his supporters were
    concentrated in Munich
  • It became a Nazi stronghold when Hitler became
    dictator in 1933

Adolf Hitler in Munich Germany, Nov. 1933
  • A group of Munich University students formed a
    resistance movement in 1942 majority were
    caught and executed
  • The city was heavily damaged by allied bombing
    during World War IIthe city was hit by 71 air
    raids over a period of six years.

First concentration camp, Dachau, was 16 km
north-west of Munich
April, 1945 the US assaulted the outskirts of
Munich, liberating Dachau concentration camp in
the process
Was a concentration camp for 12 years and
recorded the intake of 206,206 prisoners.
Approximately 32,000 prisoners were liberated in
Historical Context Adolf Hitler
  • Was born in 1889, dreamed of being an artist and
    left school to pursue this dream
  • At 18, went to Vienna to study art but was not
    accepted to Vienna Academy of Fine Arts
  • Was unemployed for the next 5 years
  • His time in Vienna he became influenced by Karl
    Laager Mayor of Vienna

  • Karl was anti-Semitic, meaning to have hatred or
    hostility towards Jews
  • Hitlers hatred for Communists and Jews began to
    develop, he moved to Munich and enlisted in the
    Germany army
  • He served as a messenger in the army, was
    honoured with Iron Cross twice for his bravery

  • Was devastated by German defeat and returned home
    blaming the Jews and Communists
  • After the war he became involved in politics and
    discovered that he was a gifted public speaker

Political Career
  • In 1920 he joined the National Socialist German
    Workers Party (Nazis)
  • In 1923 tried to take over the government in a
    revolt in Munich it failed and he was sent to
    jail but gained him nationwide attention

  • While in jail he wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle)
    and set out his belief that the German, or Aryan,
    race was superior to all, especially the Jews

Belief of Aryan Race
  • Hitler identified Jews as a race, not as a
    religious group
  • He claimed that the Aryan race had to be kept
    pure and become superior to the rest of the world
  • To be kept pure, he claimed that the superior
    race need room to livealone
  • The book was dismissed, few recognized the threat
    the book posed to Jews and all of Europe
  • No one thought it possible for him to carry out
    such ideasbut the conditions in Germany proved

  • The German people had been humiliated by the
    surrender of WWI. The Treaty of Versailles was a
    peace treaty signed at the end of WWI and
    required Germany to
  • Accept responsibility for the war
  • Disarm
  • Renounce power over substantial territory
  • Pay damages equivalent to 442 Billion (Final
    payments were made Oct. 2010, 92 years later!)

Germany After WWI
  • Germany was ruined, their currency was worthless
    and the country plunged into deepest recession
  • 15 million were unemployed, desperately poor, and
    the government had no solution- they needed a
  • This was Hitlers chance to get into power
    without using force his powerful speeches played
    on their hopes and fears and blamed Communists
    and Jews for the German hardships
  • The masses were inspired by his message of a
    master race bound for Aryan dominance

Germany under Hitlers Reign
  • Nazis gained enough seats by spreading lies about
    opposing parties, bullying voters and promising
    to save Germany
  • The media was taken over to ensure Hitlers image
    was built up and to vilify Jews

  • Hitler united an entire nation to turn against
    the enemy
  • All Jews, even those who had fought in WWI, were
    made to wear the yellow Star of David
  • They were picked on, businesses were boycotted,
    shops were vandalized, propaganda was designed to
    emphasize their inferiority, synagogues were
    burned and homes were looted

  • They created ghetto areas where they imprisoned
  • Gypsies, homosexuals, and the handicapped were
    also persecuted

Life in the Ghetto
  • Ghettos were terribly overcrowded
  • No sanitation
  • No clean water
  • No heat
  • Scarcely any food
  • Disease killed many
  • Many died of starvation while their loved ones
    watched helplessly

Someones father
Someones mother
Someones child
Someones brother
While Hitler was invading other countries,
his army started to take back their ghettos
One by one, the Jews living in the ghettos were
rounded up and sent to concentration camps
The Final Solution
  • Senior officials did not openly talk about
    genocide, however, plans were carried out to
    install poison-gas chambers in what came to be
    known as death camps

Inside Concentration Camps
  • Worked, sometimes to death, separated from
    family, at the will of soldiers
  • Little food, starvation was common
  • Josef Mengele notorious for cruel experiments
    using children attempting to find the genetic
    formula ensuring Aryan women gave birth to
    blonde, blue-eyed children

  • Six death camps located in rural locations close
    to a railway line so that cattle cars could
    transport deportees from ghettos to the gas

Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Oskar Schindler
  • Supported the Nazi movement until all the
    kindergarten children in a local ghetto
  • Owned a factory that provided the German army
    with supplies
  • Asked to secure a workforce of Jews to stay at
    his factory.
  • Treated them well, offered them protection
  • When the war ended he had rescued 1,200 Jews

Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Frank Foley
  • British spy working in the British Passport
    office in Berlin
  • Issued false visas to enable German Jews to leave
    the country
  • Estimated that he saved 10,000 Jews

Heroes of the Holocaust
  • Chiune Sugihara
  • Japanese Consul-General issued thousands of visas
    to Jews fleeing Nazi occupied Poland
  • Began spending 1820 hours a day when his order
    to leave was issued
  • Was still writing visas while in transit from his
    hotel and after boarding the train, throwing
    visas out the train window to desperate refugees.