How did the Hubermann's financial situation reflect the general state of Germany's economy in the 1930s in The Book Thief?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Money is tight for the Hubermans.  This is similar to Germany in the 1930s where national money was "tight." Weimar Germany was economically struggling.  Germany was crushed with debt from war expenditures.  At the same time, war reparations imposed on Germany through the Treaty of Versailles were also brutally difficult. Like the Hubermans, Germans were not allowed to work at any job that reflected a sense of economic, political, and social power.  Germans were forced to work odd jobs, similar to Mr. Huberman, or engage in grueling labor, similar to Mrs. Huberman.  The financial condition in Germany was one where little in way of help or assistance from the outside world and where greater pressure seemed to emerge each day, a reality facing the Hubermans.

The Hubermans parallel the economic situation of Germany in the struggle they endure.  Gripped by this, they are forced to act out of fear in the hopes of things improving, similar to German fears within the time period.  Another way in which the Hubermans reflect Germany is how they embody the reality of many regular Germans.  Millions of Germans found themselves lacking any semblance of autonomy regarding their being in the world.  The Hubermans are in the same predicament.  Their existence is one in which economic challenges have prompted a lack of autonomy and control about the world and their place it.   This is the condition that plagues Germany in the 1930s, enabling the rise of Hitler and the Nazis.

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The Book Thief

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