Thomas Schell is the father of Thomas Schell and grandfather to Oskar. Thomas (senior) had very little relationship with his son and grandson until the aftermath of the 9-11 tragedy that killed Thomas (junior). Anna is the woman that Thomas (senior) loved back in Germany during WWII. Anna and Thomas were in love and she was pregnant when the Allies bombed Dresden, and Anna and the unborn baby were killed. Thomas was completely distraught over these losses and came to the United States as a way to start over with his life, but once here, he reunited with Anna's sister and they eventually married. They were both alone and felt lost in this new country and found solace in one another's company, but they had a marriage of convenience, companionship, and a lot of "rules." One of the rules is that they would not have children, but when she became pregnant with Thomas (junior) Thomas couldn't handle it and the memories of his lost love and lost child, so he left his wife and unborn child. He only comes back into all of their lives after Thomas dies in the Twin Towers, but it is revealed later that Thomas wrote many letter to his son during his life time. He never mailed them, but he does eventually bury them in the casket meant to represent Thomas (junior) even though his body was never recovered.