By the summer of 1942, Molching is well underway preparing for the coming war. Liesel joins Hans at work, painting people’s windows black. Many do not have money to pay, so Hans takes trinkets and favors in return for his work. And while Liesel works, Rudy runs and dreams of getting four gold medals just like Jessie Owens. In mid-August at the summer carnival, Rudy wins the 1,500 meter race, then the 400 and 200. Rudy claims that he is not tired, but then he false-starts the 100 meter race and is disqualified. When Liesel asks him why, he does not answer, and the two never talk about the race again.
Soon Liesel finishes reading The Dream Carrier, and she has a craving to take yet another book from the mayor’s library. She returns on a sunny morning; inside the library, she runs her fingers over the spines and reads the titles to herself before settling on A Song in the Dark. She takes the book and reads the first four chapters while sitting beside the Amper River. The following week, Rudy comes to fetch Liesel—in the window of the mayor’s library is a large bound book, a copy of the Duden Dictionary and Thesaurus. Of course Liesel takes the book, and inside Rudy finds a letter. Ilsa Hermann has written to say that she knows Liesel has been stealing books and that she hopes one day Liesel will approach the house to enter the library in a more civilized manner. She goes back to the house but cannot bring herself to knock on the door. She feels some guilt, but she is too happy with the way that things have turned out, so she rides home instead.
In September, the sirens wail, and the Hubermanns must leave to hide in the basement of a neighbor's home while Max stays behind in their basement. The Hubermanns are among twenty-two people who cram inside the Fiedlers’ basement. Liesel notes the fear and apprehension among them. After a while the sirens die, and everyone goes back to their own homes. The Hubermanns immediately check on Max, who remains hidden in the basement. A couple of weeks later, another raid is made on Molching, but this time the situation is more serious, and bombs are heard down the street. Liesel has a book with her, so she reads to stop the fearful crying of the children in the Fiedlers’ basement. When the raid is over, the Hubermanns again return home and tell Max about what they have seen and heard. Liesel is not comforted by the fact that should a raid destroy Himmel Street, Max would die alone.
A few weeks later, three trucks on their way to Dachau stop outside Molching. One of the prisoners has died, so Death comes to carry away his soul. The Nazi soldiers decide to march the prisoners the remainder of the way to create a threatening spectacle for the town residents. All see the suffering and misery on the starved faces of the prisoners. A man much older than the rest of the prisoners continues to stumble and fall in the line. Hans Hubermann drops Liesel’s hand, reaches into his paint cart, and hands the man a piece of bread. The man hugs Hans’s shins, and an officer swarms the scene. The officer whips the Jewish prisoner six times and Hans four. Hans looks up and asks, “What have I done?”
That night, Max must leave the Hubermanns’ home; he walks up Himmel Street with his suitcase. Before he leaves, Max tells Liesel that he has left her something but that she will not get it until she is ready. That night, no soldiers come to the Hubermanns’ home to look for evidence, and only Hans’s guilt is there to punish him. Finally, three weeks later, the Gestapo arrive on Himmel Street, but they are not there for Hans—they have come for Rudy Steiner.