At the National Institute, there are always rumors of Germany’s glorious victories against Russia and England. Volkheimer is sent away from the school to become a sergeant in the army. The students whisper that he’s been sent to Russia, where he’s a great warrior for the Führer. Werner thinks back to his time in the orphanage. He feels that he’s being bullied and disliked for being an orphan. He wonders if Jutta represents everything that he doesn’t like about himself.
Much as Marie-Laure gets angry at Etienne because of her own self-hatred and frustration, Werner begins to resent his Jutta as a result of his own self-hatred. He wishes he were braver and could have stuck up for Frederick, but he also wishes that he didn’t have to go through so much moral agony—he wishes he could be a loyal Nazi, or else never have to face such decisions in the first place.
Werner continues to receive letters from Jutta, though they’re almost completely censored. These letters make Werner seem untrustworthy to the teachers—they wonder why Jutta is asking so many questions. Only Werner’s work for Hauptmann keeps him safe from bullying and from Bastian. One evening, Werner is working in the laboratory when he remembers something the Frenchman told him years ago via radio: “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
The Frenchman’s words become more relevant than ever to Werner’s life: he realizes that opening one’s eyes doesn’t only mean studying science—in fact, focusing too exclusively on pure science is a kind of blindness. Opening one’s eyes means seeing the world in its totality: recognizing that the Nazi state is only allowing Werner to study science because they want more efficient ways to kill enemies.