The Portage to San Cristóbal of A. H. Characters

George Steiner

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler, the former leader of Germany, in his nineties and living in the Amazonian rain forest. Frail looking and barely able to speak when the Israeli Capture Team first apprehends him, he gains strength almost imperceptibly as the story progresses. As the men weaken and begin to die, Hitler becomes stronger and begins to offer suggestions and then orders on how to avoid the dangers of the jungle. By the end of the novel, he has completely regained his powerful oratorical ability, to such a degree that none of the remaining team is able to silence him or respond satisfactorily to his casuistic arguments. By the time the mysterious helicopters appear in the final scene, the team members are mute with exhaustion and confusion.

Emmanuel Lieber

Emmanuel Lieber, a survivor of the Holocaust, an inveterate Nazi hunter and organizer of the team to capture Hitler. Lieber is the self-appointed agent to avenge Hitler’s crimes against the Jews. With his incredible religious learning, he is metaphorically rearranging the sacred Hebrew texts for the demise of Hitler to be entered into them. Both historian and prophet, he views Hitler as the final enemy of the Jewish people and is in a state of visionary gratitude that Hitler has been found.

Dr. Nikolai Maximovitch Gruzdev

Dr. Nikolai Maximovitch Gruzdev, a physician and former medical examiner at the time of Hitler’s presumed death. A man in his late sixties who is still smarting from eight years in a Siberian prison, he is terrified when called on to review his earlier findings as the one who performed the autopsy on Hitler’s charred body. His initial report was that the body was not...

(The entire section is 707 words.)