What is the relationship between Hans and Liesel in The Book Thief?

Liesel and Hans share a generally warm father-daughter relationship.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Hans Hubermann is basically Liesel's foster father once her biological father is taken to a concentration camp for his communist sympathies. Hans takes this new role seriously. While Rosa can be rather harsh with Liesel, Hans is far gentler. He teaches the young girl how to read and write, an illustration of his strong belief in the importance of education. Hans is also a figure of integrity; while he could make his life easier if he officially joined the Nazi party, his moral standards do not align with theirs. He even hides a young Jewish man in his home. The only temptation the Nazi party provides is protection for his family, which is the center of Hans' world.

These qualities make Hans a role model for Liesel to follow. Liesel shares with him a strong sense of empathy for those in pain. Both are also courageous figures, risking their lives for their principles. Liesel's taking books from Nazi rally burnings is one such act. Also, just as Hans helps Liesel and Max out of the goodness of his heart, Liesel soon opts to help others through her public readings of books during the bombings, allowing the terrified townspeople to take their minds off the horror of their shared situation.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on