What are death's feelings for the victims of war?
Death is sympathetic towards the victims of war, especially those who are still living. This is because most of them are likely to succumb to violent or extremely painful deaths due to the conditions they encounter. During a war, people succumb to bombings which basically burn the people alive, some die hungry and others are shot or hanged after being tortured. This was the case for the Jews who were evidently starved and made to walk long distances as a form of torture before their death. At one point Hans and an elderly Jew are whipped because Hans hands the man a piece of bread. It is likely that the old man died from such gruesome conditions. Another example would be the bombing of Himmel Street which killed everyone that Liesel knew including her entire foster family and best friend Rudy. It is such situations that made death sympathetic towards the human race because during a war people come to their end in the most painful manner.
Death's feelings are best captured in the prologue of the book where he states that his work is hard and that he is sympathetic towards survivors during war. It is through Liesel's story that he further explains his feelings.
Death is actually portrayed as a sympathetic character in this book. So many die, that he is overworked carrying all the souls. Some souls are like a wisp of smoke, old and burned out. Others are precious and held tenderly like those of young, innocent victims. Some are accepted as an expected death after illness or age have taken their toll. Death foresees the future of the living and feels helpless to forestall the person's doom. As he collects these souls, he describes their color and the color of the sky where he takes them, symbolic of the mood expressed in the story. Never before in literature has Death been portrayed so movingly.