Holocaust in children’s Literature in the Novel – The Book Thief

“It was a place nobody wanted to stay and look at, but almost everyone did. Shaped like a long, broken arm, the road contained several houses with lacerated windows and bruised walls. The Star of David was painted on their doors. Those houses were almost like lepers. At the very least, they were infected sores on the injured German terrain.”
― Markus Zusak, 
The Book Thief

In reference to the novel, The Book Thief written by Markus Zusak which is a Young Adult Fiction and Historical Fiction by Genre gives us a clear image of the best classical works found in the literature. Markus has portrayed a beautiful story about a girl named Liesel Meminger, which is also the protagonist of the story. In which “Death” himself is the narrator and portrays us the beautiful relationship of a Foster Father and daughter.

Foster parenting is most fragile and negative but living in an environment where the background shows us the Nazi Germany War and the Autocratic power of Hitler and suppression of the Jews and the incidents of the holocaust, war and Violence may often haunt and be Depressing for the young Readers.

Why holocaust in children’s Literature?

Here the question raises about Markus is why he used Holocaust in children’s Literature?

The reason can be numerous, but the fine line of choosing the holocaust and Hitler was the prominent and best option because of the reason that Adolf Hitler himself targeted young minds to brainwash them by all political conspiracies against the Jewish people. This fact should be considered prominent, and the young generation of contemporary society should well know about holocaust literature.

Markus Zusak has explained the story of the book thief(Liesel Meminger) who was 10 years old girl living in Nazi Germany with her foster parents. Markus specifically took Liesel as a girl character to explain the scenario of children living in Nazi Germany.

The book Thief novel presents us the elements of contemporary issues in which a girl develops her emotional, physical, mental, cognitive skills and IQ skills with a presence of an ideal father.

Most Prominently, the novel is a complete package of love, friendship, hate, war, suppression under Hitler are the major themes found among them.

Holocaust – A deadly topic among children

Although, Holocaust is one of those terrible historical events which is still a heated topic and gives us goosebumps even to the adult readers. So the question that arises is how Markus have been able to make this as a children’s knowledge and bring the serious topic as an interesting genre among young readers . The answer is simple, as the book is enough to tell anyone why it’s been one of the classic books in the field of literature with a perfect balance of Emotional and feel-good genres.

The Book Thief –

The story is about a 10 yr. an old girl named Liesel Meminger, whose life was always a series of miserable life as she lost his brother at the beginning of the story and her own mother abandoned her and was kept under foster care.

Unlike other foster parents, rosa, her foster mother was always a rude mother who was always strict with her, but definitely her life was beautiful and contended because she had a foster father named; Hans Huberman, who always motivated her to read books and learn new vocabulary.

The whole book is set under the regime of Nazi Germany where it is all about children and their lives out there, where Liesel met many people like; Max ( A Jew, who was hidden in the attic), Rudy( His best friend), Illa ( The commander wife, who used to be good companion of Liesel in her reading time).

Liesel’s  life has always been tragic because she was always welcomed by grief, remorse and death. She lost many close people in her life due to death, and that is the reason death as a narrator quotes that: “I’ve touched Liesel many times, but her soul always lets me allow her to live more”. Liesel in the end becomes a successful writer and her journey as a writer explains to us how tragic her whole life was.

Elements of Nazi Germany-

The whole Book portray us the background of which the whole novel was based, as Jewish were beaten, the burring of books, max as a Jewish hiding in the attic, Hans going to war, Young boys enthusiastic and idolising Hitler these are elements in the book portray us the condition of Nazi Germany.

The ending of the book is bit tragic as though she becomes a famous writer , but she lossses everyone in the end of the war. Her foster parents, best friend Rudy all dies and she is left alone. The Book Thief is a perfect blend of War and fragility of a little girl who suffered so much because of a war. This also shows us how death plays a major roles in a way and is always terrible with mortal humans.