Page 28. " She was listening contentedly to the torrent of words that was spilling from his mouth. His sentences glowed in the light "

Hitler was renowned for his lengthy and charismatic speeches, and his use of propaganda to instil fear into his subjects and strengthen his regime.


Page 30. " When it came down to it, one of them called the shots. The other did what he was told "

This is a striking metaphor for Hitler and Germany. Hitler controlled a whole nation through words and commands. 

Page 38. " Her hair was a close enough brand of German-blonde, but she had dangerous eyes. "

Aryan Blonde
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAryan Blonde - Credit: TheeErin, Flickr
Hitler believed that the Aryan race was the “master” race, and Aryans were the true people of Germany. They were identified by the ideal physical features of very blonde hair and very blue eyes.  

To maintain this “pure” race, the government banned mixed race marriages, introduced compulsory sterilisation of the mentally ill and deficient, and embarked on massive programmes of racial extermination.

Page 40. " and played the piano accordion "
A piano accordion has a mini keyboard for the right hand to play while the left hand squeezes the bellows. Its origins are not known for sure, but it is thought that this version of the traditional accordion was built in Munich by instrument makers Mattaus Bauer in 1854.



Page 45. " One of them would be making bullets "
As in Britain and elsewhere, the role of German women in munitions manufacture was hugely important during the Second World War.
Page 46. " there was a heavy Catholic influence, and Liesel was Lutheran "

Death and a Child in the Catholic Asamkirche, Munich
Creative Commons AttributionDeath and a Child in the Catholic Asamkirche, Munich - Credit: Tim Schapker
The two main religions in Germany at this time were Catholicism and Protestantism.  Southern Germany, including Munich, is traditionally Catholic, while the northern states are Lutheran. 

The Nazi Party often cited the work of protestant hero Martin Luther to further their nationalist cause; they particularly exploited his strong anti-Jewish opinions.

Page 46. " There were no books in the house "
Creative Commons AttributionBooks - Credit: Lin Kristensen
Most German households were extremely poor. Before the advent of cheap mass-produced paperbacks, books were considered a luxury.
Page 46. " Ten years old meant Hitler Youth "
Hitler Youth on Hermann Göring's Birthday, 1935
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHitler Youth on Hermann Göring's Birthday, 1935 - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv


To safeguard its policies and ideals, the NSDAP (Nazi party) founded the Hitler Youth, an organisation with local branches all over the country where young men would be indoctrinated with Nazi Party propaganda. Membership was mandatory for all Aryans. The Hitler Youth was also used as a military reserve towards the end of the war, when trained troops were fast being exhausted.


Hitler Youth, 1933
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHitler Youth, 1933 - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv


The equivalent for young girls was the BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel, or the League of German Maidens). Girls were trained in NSDAP beliefs that women should be homemakers and childbearers.


Hitler Youth, 1942
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHitler Youth, 1942 - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv
German Family, 1943
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGerman Family, 1943 - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv
Page 47. " make sure your Heil Hitler was working properly "

Heil Hitler
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHeil Hitler - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv
The Nazi salute was used to show solidarity with and conformity to the Nazi Party. The right arm was raised and the palm shown with fingers straight, while the words “Heil Hitler” were declared.

It is now a criminal offence to make this gesture in Germany and Austria.