The protagonist of the novel, a young girl who comes to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, her foster parents. Liesel's real parents, who were communists, were probably killed by the Nazis, and her brother… (read full character analysis)
The narrator of the novel, the mysterious figure who collects human souls when they die. Death enjoys noticing colors, particularly in the sky, and he is mystified by the contradictory nature of humans—both beautiful and… (read full character analysis)
Liesel's foster father, a silvery-eyed house painter and accordion player. Hans is exceedingly kind and gentle, and has a quiet strength and courage. He follows his own moral compass even when it puts him… (read full character analysis)
A Jewish fist fighter who comes to the hide in the Hubermanns' basement. Max arrives sick and emaciated, but he soon joins the family and keeps himself alive through a strong hatred of Hitler… (read full character analysis)
The mayor's wife in the town where the Hubermanns live and one of Rosa's washing customers, Ilsa subjects herself to cold weather as a punishment for living when her son has died (even though… (read full character analysis)
Liesel's foster mother, a loud, impatient woman fond of cursing and insulting everyone. Under her angry exterior Rosa has a brave, caring heart, and she takes in Liesel and Max without question.
Rudy's father, a tailor who is drafted because he refuses to send Rudy away to Nazi school. Alex survives the war and returns home after the final bombing. He and Liesel become friends at the end of the novel, as the only two survivors of Himmel Street.
The Hubermanns' neighbor who has a long-standing feud with Rosa. After the first air raid she asks Liesel to read out loud to her and she slowly grows more friendly. Later she has to deal with the deaths of both of her sons.
Frau Holtzapfel's son who survives the war at Stalingrad but watches his brother die. Michael suffers from survivor's guilt, and later hangs himself.
Hans Hubermann, Junior
The Hubermanns' grown son, a patriotic Nazi who insults his father and leaves the family because Hans doesn't support Hitler.
A neighbor and classmate of Rudy and Liesel's, he is physically weak, hard of hearing, and twitchy, and his weakness incurs the wrath of Liesel and later Franz Deutscher.
The sadistic leader of Rudy's Hitler Youth squad. He enjoys punishing Rudy and Tommy for no reason.
The initial leader of the apple-stealing gang, he befriends Liesel and Rudy and treats the other kids in his group fairly.
The stealing gang's second leader, a cruel boy who exploits his own group and attacks Rudy and Liesel.
Max Vandenburg's friend and former boxing opponent, the man who saves Max from being arrested and helps him get to Hans.
The Hubermanns' daughter, quiet and not close to her parents.
A young man in Hans's division of the LSE in the army. He has a bad temper that gets him killed when he spitefully takes Hans's seat in the truck.
Max's father, a Jewish accordion player who befriends Hans in World War I and saves his life by volunteering him to write letters on the day of battle. Hans promises Erik's wife that he will help her, if she or her family ever needs help.
A resident of Himmel Street who owns a store. A staunch patriot who makes everyone salute Hitler before she will speak to them.
Liesel's younger brother, who dies on a train at the beginning of the novel and then regularly appears in her dreams.
Frau Holtzapfel's other son, who Death collects in a hospital after his legs were blown off at Stalingrad.
A crazy man of Himmel Street who likes to whistle and curse obscenely.
An African-American athlete who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany. He is not present in the story, but is Rudy's hero and a symbol of opposition to the "Aryan ideal."
Liesel's teacher who gives her many a beating.
A boy who mocks Liesel for being illiterate, but then she beats him up. Later the two of them apologize to each other.
Ilsa Hermann's son, who died in World War I.
A wealthy boy who delivers food to the Catholic priests on his bike. Liesel and Rudy steal his basket one day.