The Courageous Acts Of Hans Huberman In The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

In “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, many characters are put in a variety of predicaments where the character has to make tough moral decisions and make courageous actions. Hans Huberman is the most honorable man in the whole book. He is a silver-eyed painter who plays the accordian and follows his moral compass. Hans lives on Himmel Street in Germany when he gets this foster child, Liesel, during World War II. Hans has the biggest impact on Liesel and is probably the character Liesel becomes the closest with throughout the book. He is apart of the very small percentage of Germans who do not join the Nazi Party and tries stand up and help what Jews he can. Zusak uses this character to show the couragous decsions that are made when following your moral compass; not joining the Nazi Party, bringing a Jew into hiding, and helping other Jews.

Hans Huberman had always refused to join the Nazi Party because of what they believed and what they were doing to the Jews or anyone who was not the “perfect race.” This was a courageous act considering he was not under complete protection since Hans was not apart of the party. Though he still participated in some of these parties functions to keep his family safe. “He couldn’t join a party that antagonized people in such a way”. Han’s son is completely against his father not joining the Nazi party because living in germany and not being in the party could result in punishment. “... there was no listing for punishment, but everyone had to take their turn”. Hans eventually has to join the Nazi Party to keep his family safe from punishment, though he does not agree with what this party stands for. Hans does everything in his power to do the right thing while taking care of Liesel and his wife, Rosa, keeping them and himself safe.

Despite Hans joining the party he was still friends of Jews and helped them when he could. Hans even hid a Jew in his basement to keep this young man safe. This young man was Max Vandenburg and his father was Erik Vandenburg, the man who saved Han Huberman's life. “A Jew had once saved his life and he couldn’t forget that. He couldn’t join a party that antagonized people in such a way”. Hans owed this family and that meant “... the Jew, closed his eyes and drooped a little further into safety”. Hans saved this Jews life even though it meant risking his own life and the lives of Liesel and Rosa. Max lives in the basement for many months. Hans and Rosa do what they can to take care of him. Liesel even has a close relationship with Max. When Max gets sick she has the courage to read to him and keep him going as well as bring him presents. This courageous act of Hans leads to Liesel making them same acts. One day when soldiers are going around checking basements to put people in to keep safe during the air raids, Liesel is outside playing soccer. To warn her foster parents she purposely hurts her knee so she can go inside without looking suspicious. These kind acts start to impact those closest to him to do the same thing that he is – looking out for the Jews.

One day on Himmel Street, some Jews are walked down the street in shame. These Jews are headed to the concentration camps to be starved, beaten, and killed. Hans tried to help but there is not much he can do without risking going with them and dying himself. Hans ends up giving this group of Jews bread as they walk down the street to help them. This is another courageous act of Hans and he does get punished from it. One of the soldiers catches Hans feeding the Jews so the soldier pushed Hans onto the ground and starts to whip him and the Jew receiving the bread. “Hans Huberman was whipped on the street”. Even the slightest thing such as helping this “imperfect race” and feeding them crumbs of bread results in punishment for both of these people. Though Hans did not succeed in helping this time once he is off at war Liesel starts to help the Jews more. One day when the Jews are being marched through Himmel Street again, Liesel and Rudy give bread to the Jews. Even through this tough and terrifying time with the Jews being killed, soldiers marching the streets, and bombs dropping out of the skies, these little kids are helping those in need. This is one of the most courageous acts of all, doing the right thing in public, even though the government and some of society considers it wrong.

Hans Huberman – the silvery-eyed painter who just played the accordian and lived on Himmel street. Even though he did not make the biggest impact, he made some courageous decisions and did the right thing even if it was considered wrong. He helped and cared for the Jews, kept one safe in his basement, and did not join the party that was trying to kill this “imperfect race.” These courageous acts may seem small but did so much for those around Hans Huberman.

14 May 2021
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