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There are three important figures in Matas' novel about the holocaust.
Daniel is the main character. He manages to survive the the horrors of Hitler. The novel follows Daniel from the age of six in 1933 until he is eighteen, in 1945.
Erika, Daniel's younger sister, is the other main character in the story. Although she is young, Erika has a wisdom beyond her years and tries to make sense of the terrible events that she, her family, and the Jewish people endure.
Rosa is "the girl Daniel met in the Lodz Ghetto, remains focal in his mind throughout his time in the two death camps, but she does not reappear until the conclusion when Daniel finds her alive in Lodz."
A good number of other characters flow in and out of the narrative, but their roles are minor, and Daniel alone remains central to the story from beginning to end.
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