The Book Thief Germany
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Holocaust Survivor Testimonies: The Death Marches - YouTube

Holocaust survivors Herta Goldman and Lea Frank Holitz describe the death marches. The video is an excerpt from the film "Death Marches" in the Holocaust His...
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This is a testimonial from two women who survived the Death Marches. They talk about the exhaustion and confusion and how they were so hungry they were forced to dig through garbage and eat rotten potatoes. The one woman was with her sister who survived all the way to the Death Camps being liberated only to die once she was put into a hospital. The other woman said she once asked where they were going to which the soldier responded "we have no destination, purpose is for all of you to drop dead on the way". They also said that if someone were to step out of line they would shoot them but if they were to fall out of weakness they would hit them with the butt of their gun and push them in the snow to freeze. Overall this is heartbreaking to here. In the book we see the Death Marches go through Molching and Liesel goes into detail about how confused they look and exhausted and how they almost don't seem human anymore. We also see how starved they are when Rudy and Liesel throw them food and they desperately go after it. This is what Max had to go through and overall this is a very dark and depressing part of the world's history.
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Dachau

Dachau | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it
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This is an image of the bunks in Dachau. With the tight and uncomfortable quarters diseases would spread easily. It would also make it very difficult for the prisoners to get any rest causing them to be weak when they're working and more likely to be killed. With all this its amazing for anyone to have survived these camps. This is relevant to the book because Max ended up at that very camp after he left the Hubermann's. It's amazing that managed to survive and his survival is probably at least in part due to the fact that Liesel gave him a ton of hope for the future. That's just my opinion though because the book doesn't go into very much detail of max's life after the Hubermann's.
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book burning

book burning | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it
Katie's insight:

This is a picture of a book burning happening in Nazi Germany. This is important to The Book Thief because the book burning scene sort of establishes that Liesel's love for books far surpasses her obligation to love the Nazi party. In the book she waits for everyone to leave and then ends up stealing a book out of the ashes. The book is still hot and even burns her a little bit but she is incredibly determined to take it. This also shows that while the Nazi's are trying to brainwash these youth into thinking that all Jewish things are bad and should be destroyed, Liesel is having none of that and takes the book knowing full well that it was written by a Jewish person.

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Hitlerjugend

Hitlerjugend | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it

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This is a detailed history of the Hitler youth movement. There was also a separate girl group known as the League of German Girls. The appointed leader of the youth movement was Baldur von Schirach. His goal was to unite all the youth of Germany under one group. He managed to get 60% of the German youth in Hitler Youth by 1935. There were two groups within the Hitler Youth, 10-14 year-olds and 14-18 year-olds. The goal of the organization was to get young people involved in the Nazi movement in order to maintain the "Thousand-Year Reich". The Nazi education program thought that a strong physique was better than intellectual development. After Hitler youth the boys would move on to the Reich Labor Service and after that they would enlist into the war. This enabled the Naizi party to control every aspect of the child's life from age 10 to 21. 

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The Book Thief: Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Product by Alfred A. Knopf ~ Markus Zusak (author) More about this product
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The Book Thief [Markus Zusak] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The extraordinary #1  New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier
Katie's insight:

The Book Thief tells the story of a young girl, named Liesel, living in Nazi Germany during WW2. In the beginning of the book her brother dies, she loses her mother, and she is sent to live with the Hubermann's on Himmel Street. The book is narrated by death and for the first part of the book he shows us Liesel get acquainted with her new life. Everything changes when her papa takes in a Jewish man named Max and hides him in their basement. Liesel and Max become good friends and she spends her days stealing food and books with her friend Rudy, playing soccer, and telling Max about the world. Liesel and Rudy also have to deal with the struggles that come with being a part of Hitler Youth.  Liesel's papa makes the mistake of publicly helping a Jew on his way to a death camp. This causes him to think the Gestapo will be after him which in turn causes Max to leave their basement. Rudy makes the mistake of being the perfect Hitler Youth and is almost sent to war before his Papa interferes. Eventually Liesel's papa and Rudy's papa are sent off to war. Papa gets sent home after a while and is only around for a few months before Himmel Street gets bombed. Liesel is the only survivor. Rudy's papa eventually returns and cares for Liesel. Max also returns once the concentration camps are liberated. In the end Liesel lives to be an old woman and dies peacefully.

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BBC - WW2 People's War - An Air Raid Incident from World War Two

BBC - WW2 People's War - An Air Raid Incident from World War Two | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it
It was a dry clear night and, as I lived on a tram route that took me almost to the door of ...
Katie's insight:

This webpage is a detailed account of the experiences of a woman named Patricia McGowan during the air raids of WWII. She actually was living in England at the time of the Blitz. Patricia talks about her experiences in their families Anderson shelter they had in their backyard. She goes into detail about what the shelter was like and all the things they kept in there. She also talks about being a teenager during this time and having rebellious urges to go dancing and have fun. While their parents protested they eventually gave in and would let Patricia and her friend Mollie go out. Patricia then recalls what the dances were like when she was young. Ballroom dancing was the big dance craze back then and at the dances the boys would line up across from the girls, then when the music starts the boys would rush forward and pick which girl they wanted to dance with. Sometimes girls wouldn't be picked and it would be embarrassing for them. Then Patricia tells the detail of a night when she went dancing with Mollie and as they were about to leave they heard air raid sirens. The two women decided to turn down their dates offer to walk them home and ended up walking home alone. Once they heard the air raid sirens they started running. Patricia turned around at one point and saw the plains headed directly toward them. They hid on the side of a house for a while when a woman came out and asked them if they would like to come into their shelter. They turned down the offer and decided to brave the rest of the way home so they wouldn't worry their parents. Along the way Patricia fainted and when she woke up some officers were caring for her and helped her and her friend the rest of the way home. The next day she went out to see the damage the bombs did to her street. It turns out that the shelter that the woman invited them to into was completely destroyed, killing everyone inside. In the end she recalls how daunting it was being so close to death. 

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Air Raid Sirens followed by the All Clear (Very good quality recording) - YouTube

A recording of the Carter Gents air-raid sirens and all-clear that would have been a very familiar sound to all civilians in Britain from 1939 - 1945 along w...
Katie's insight:
If you close your eyes and listen to this video you can sort of get a feeling of what it was like during WWII at the time of an air raid. Whether it was just a false alarm or there were actual planes coming this sound is frighteningly eerie. Add this noise to the fear of dying and air raids become nightmares. It's no wonder that everyone is entranced by Liesel's reading in the bunker because it's something to focus on other than the sirens.
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Death Marches

Death Marches | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it
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Katie's insight:
This article details the history of death marches and what happened during them. Death marches were essentially a long and intolerable walk of long columns of prisoners in which they were beaten and sometimes killed by the guards. They were well known more so in the later parts of the war, when the concentration camps were being evacuated. The first death march was in Poland where 800 prisoners were marched about 62 miles in the bitter cold. On top of that, the prisoners killed both individuals and groups of prisoners. In the end only about a dozen made it to their destination. There were many times when they would march tens of thousands of prisoner for many miles. A lot of times they would march straight to the death camps. The first large scale death march was a group of 3600 Jewish prisoner marching to Dachau. After about a thousand died during the walk they were put on a train that was forced to hold 90 people to a car, hundreds more died there leaving less than 2,000 to actually reach Dachau. On one of the longest marches from the Bor camp in Yugoslavia to the Oranienburg camp in Hungary a famous Jewish poet named Miklós Radnoti who created his last poems on that march. There were also many neutral diplomats such as Raoul Wallenberg who would rescue Jewish prisoners from the marches. When the death camps were stopped all of those prisoners were forced to march to concentration camps. There were 66,000 marching from Auschwitz and nearly 15,000 died. In the final days of the German Reich millions of prisoners were forced to march sometimes for weeks. In the final days of the war the German soldiers were desperate to kill as many Jews as the can and would shoot them at the end of the march or put them in buildings and burn the buildings down.
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Hitler's Children

Hitler's Children | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it
Never has a generation been so completely taken over by a totalitarian state as was the case in Hitler's Third Reich: at the age of 10 children joined...
Katie's insight:

This documentary gives many detailed accounts of what being a part of Hitler Youth was like. They have a lot of archive footage of all the rallies and camps with hundreds of thousands of boys and many girls who were completely dedicated to Hitler. They were all sort of brain washed from the moment they were forced to join Hitler Youth. They weren't actually forced to join but it was like if you didn't join you were known as a family that Hates Hitler which was not good back then. They had all these camps were the children would go to and be surrounded by other boys being taught that Hitler was amazing. These camps also sort of served as ways of distancing these children from their families. One man said that when he was home one time he overhead his father talking to a Jewish man in his kitchen and agreeing to help him cross the border. After his father had helped the Jewish man the man said at that moment he wished his parents weren't his parents and had actually been ashamed of them. Many of the former Hitler Youth members admitted that they loved it because it made them feel like they had a place in the world, that they weren't just children, but they were people with goals in life. Even though they were going to be sent to war they all felt like it was their duty because they had been conditioned to feel that way. Many of them also said that they were never allowed to be seen crying. For these kids, Hitlers birthday was like the biggest holiday of the year. In many respects the Hitler Youth movement was like a giant cult.

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Dachau

Dachau | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it

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Katie's insight:

Dachau is one of the first and most famous Nazi concentration camps. It was located at an old weapons factory int the little town of Dachau and it could fit about 5,000 prisoners. Dachau is the camp that all other concentration camps were based off of. The people of Germany feared these camps which led to more obedience towards the Nazi party. There were some companies that would hire these prisoners to work for them, but the money went to the SS so it was slave labor. When it first opened the only people imprisoned there were popular opponents of the Nazi party. When Dachau was liberated at the end of the war they found that nearly 30% of the prisoners were Jewish. Although it wasn't a death camp, there were 206,206 prisoners that went there and 31,591 of them were recorded to have died. That's not the true number of all the people that died because we can't account for death marches, mass shootings, and just unrecorded deaths. The prisoners heads would be shaved and they would all wear striped uniforms. Every day they would work with little to nothing to eat and filled with exhaustion and fear. They worked on mostly weapons manufacturing for the war and various infrastructure related projects. If they got sick they would be sent to the main camp where they would most likely die and be replaced by a healthier prisoner. The SS would perform cruel medical experiments on the prisoners such as testing what would happen if someone had a sudden loss of pressure or lack of oxygen, and they also would freeze them in order to see how pilots lost at see could be helped if they were frozen. They also infected prisoners with malaria and tuberculosis so scientists could try and find a way to cure them. In the last days of Dachau the camp was more unlivable than ever before and they would fit 1600 prisoners in rooms meant for 200. The camp was eventually liberated by the American army.

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Map of Nazi Germany during WWII

Map of Nazi Germany during WWII | The Book Thief Germany | Scoop.it
Katie's insight:

Nazi Germany was much larger than Germany is today. Hitler was constantly expanding his armies to take over other countries. If you were to visit Nazi Germany you would many people living in poor conditions with very little food. Many of the cities at the time were also being heavily bombed by the allied forces.

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