Some of the questions will be spoilers if you haven’t read the book up to that chapter yet. DO NOT READ THE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU READ THE CHAPTER unless you don’t care about suspense or surprises.
- People strive to maintain their humanity even when their basic human needs are not being met.
- What did the family do to maintain their dignity and self-respect?
- How did the Lichtensterns try to protect their children?
Discussion Questions and Activities
- Look back at the picture of the Boulevard of Miseries on page 82. Now that you know more about Westerbork discuss what you see in the picture.
- Max Ehrlich told jokes on the train. This can be described as “gallows humor.” Discuss the emotions behind such humor and why you think people do this.
- Tutti was embarrassed about using the barrel on the train. This was just one way the Nazis dehumanized the Jews. What other forms of dehumanization have we seen in the book so far? Why did the Nazis do this to the Jews?
- Heinz asks Tutti to do something very important and dangerous. Why? Discuss the danger and why he would do this.
- Describe the ways that the conditions at Theresienstadt were worse than Westerbork.
- Why were the elderly given less food?
- Why was Tutti unsure if Gaby would understand her?
- What was Tutti’s job?
- Heinz suspected that the work camp was really a death camp. What evidence did he have?
- Research how many transports were sent from Theresienstadt to ‘the East.’ How many people was this? How many perished?
- The slip of paper that Heinz was given said: Ausgeschieden 3911 412-XXIV/7 Lichtenstern 1907-14-4 (part has been torn off). What do all the numbers mean? Explain.
- Why did Margret insist that the children wash in the middle of the night?
- What did Margret and Heinz want to tell the children?
- Why did they decide not too?
- What would you want to be told?
- Why did the Germans give the prisoners so little food?
- In this chapter we meet three different Nazi soldiers. They treat Heinz very differently. Discuss their motivations.
- Was Schmidt a good person? Why or why not?
- Margret is torn between her desire to feed her family and teach her children right from wrong. Discuss these two competing objectives.
- Why did Margret throw bread in the train? Was it a good choice? Why or why not?