Summary and Analysis Part 7: The Complete Duden Dictionary and Thesaurus: The Idiot and the Coat Men

After four days pass, Hans goes to the bridge at the Amper River and finds the note from Max. Then, three weeks later, Liesel sees coated men on their street on her way home. She runs into the house and tells her father that they’ve come for him. Hans goes outside to meet the men, and, when they pass him, he calls out that he’s the one they want. They say he’s too old for their needs and move down to the Steiners’ home. They want Rudy.


The way that Hans refers to the Gestapo as “they” recalls an earlier conversation in the novel between Hans and Rosa, the one that Liesel overhears about her mother. Liesel had wondered who “they” were, and now she knows “they” are the Gestapo. She becomes the one who identifies them, who tells her Papa that “they’re here.” Liesel and Hans, in many ways, reverse roles in this chapter; now Liesel tells her Papa that he didn’t do anything wrong, just as he told her when she’d blamed herself for getting Max sick by bringing him snow. Both of them feel guilt for their actions, for things they had to do. Hans also regrets having sent Max away since it appears that Max would have been safe had he stayed. Of course, there was no way for Hans to know that. This chapter ends with Liesel worried about Rudy because the men have come for him.