What purpose do books serve in the novel The Book Thief? How can the topic of “books” connect to the deeper historical topic of the Holocaust and atrocities presented in the novel?

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Books are important as material objects, as representations of the knowledge contained in them, and as symbols of the human connections made through them. The Nazis did conduct public book burnings such as the one that Liesel witnessed. Hitler’s government also banned “subversive” art and imprisoned creative and political dissidents....

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Books are important as material objects, as representations of the knowledge contained in them, and as symbols of the human connections made through them. The Nazis did conduct public book burnings such as the one that Liesel witnessed. Hitler’s government also banned “subversive” art and imprisoned creative and political dissidents. Although Liesel is actually committing a crime by stealing, her role as a book thief can be compared to that of resistance activists who opposed the Nazi regime. Similarly, Ilse Hermann acknowledge Liesel’s borrowings from her home and agrees to provide her with books. In doing so, she is encouraging the girl to learn information that might have been banned. While the Mayor’s wife is not speaking out against the Nazis and so can be considered complicit, she is taking an individual stand to help one person, which can be interpreted as a subversive act.

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