All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Werner Pfennig is a young, intelligent German boy, and one of the two protagonists of All the Light We Cannot See. Werner has whitish-blond hair, blue eyes, and is strikingly intelligent, so he seems like a model of the Nazis’ “Aryan ideal”—except that he has a stronger moral compass and a lesser sense of racial superiority than most of his peers. During his adolescence, Werner is close with his sister, Jutta Pfennig, with whom he lives at an orphanage (their father died in a mining accident, and their mother’s fate is unknown). As a respite from their oppressive surroundings, Werner and Jutta develop a love for science and the broadcasts they hear via their radio (broadcasts being made, unbeknownst to either of them, by Marie-Laure LeBlanc’s own grandfather Henri). As Werner grows older, he develops an aptitude for engineering and science, but is morally challenged when he is accepted into the National Institute (a prestigious Nazi school) and then during his stint in the German army. Werner uses his skills to help Volkheimer and other soldiers murder hundreds of people—some of them civilians—and wonders, again and again, if he’ll be able to live with his choices. Throughout his time in the army, Werner remains devoted to his sister, Jutta, and often thinks back to their carefree days together in the orphanage. His favorite memory of Jutta—listening to radio broadcasts in the orphanage—ultimately contributes to his decision to spare Marie-Laure’s life when he realizes that she is connected to these broadcasts.

Werner Pfennig Quotes in All the Light We Cannot See

The All the Light We Cannot See quotes below are all either spoken by Werner Pfennig or refer to Werner Pfennig. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Fourth Estate edition of All the Light We Cannot See published in 2015.
One (1934): The Professor Quotes

Open your eyes, concludes the man, and see what you can with them before they close forever, and then a piano comes on, playing a lonely song that sounds to Werner like a golden boat traveling a dark river, a progression of harmonies that transfigures Zollverein: the houses turned to mist, the mines filled in, the smokestacks fallen, an ancient sea spilling through the streets, and the air streaming with possibility.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig (speaker), Henri LeBlanc (speaker)
Related Symbols: Vision, Radio
Page Number: 48-49
Explanation and Analysis:

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One (1934): Open Your Eyes Quotes

The voice, the piano again. Perhaps it’s Werner’s imagination, but each time he hears one of the programs, the quality seems to degrade a bit more, the sound growing fainter: as though the Frenchman broadcasts from a ship that is slowly traveling farther away.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig, Henri LeBlanc
Related Symbols: Radio
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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Three (June 1940): Entrance Exam Quotes

On the second morning, there are raciological exams. They require little of Werner except to raise his arms or keep from blinking while an inspector shines a penlight into the tunnels of his pupils. He sweats and shifts. His heart pounds unreasonably. An onion-breathed technician in a lab coat measures the distance between Werner’s temples, the circumference of his head, and the thickness and shape of his lips. Calipers are used to evaluate his feet, the length of his fingers, and the distance between his eyes and his navel. They measure his penis. The angle of his nose is quantified with a wooden protractor.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig
Page Number: 113-114
Explanation and Analysis:

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Three (June 1940): Don’t Tell Lies Quotes

“It’s not forever, Jutta. Two years, maybe. Half the boys who get admitted don’t manage to graduate. But maybe I’ll learn something; maybe they’ll teach me to be a proper engineer. Maybe I can learn to fly an airplane, like little Siegfried says. Don’t shake your head, we’ve always wanted to see the inside of an airplane, haven’t we? I’ll fly us west, you and me, Frau Elena too if she wants. Or we could take a train. We’ll ride through forests and villages de montagnes, all those places Frau Elena talked about when we were small. Maybe we could ride all the way to Paris.” The burgeoning light. The tender hissing of the grass. Jutta opens her eyes but doesn’t look at him. “Don’t tell lies. Lie to yourself, Werner, but don’t lie to me.”

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig (speaker), Jutta Pfennig (speaker), Frau Elena
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

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Three (June 1940): Weakest Quotes

The fastest cadet is lunging for the back of the boy’s shirt. He almost has him. Black-haired Ernst is going to be caught, and Werner wonders if some part of him wants it to happen. But the boy makes it to the commandant a split second before the others come pounding past.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig, Ernst
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

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Three (June 1940): Blackbirds Quotes

Why always triangles? What is the purpose of the transceiver they are building? What two points does Hauptmann know, and why does he need to know the third? “It’s only numbers, cadet,” Hauptmann says, a favorite maxim. “Pure math. You have to accustom yourself to thinking that way.”

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig (speaker), Dr. Hauptmann (speaker)
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

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Four (8 August 1944): Atelier de Réparation Quotes

Atelier de réparation, thinks Werner, a chamber in which to make reparations. As appropriate a place as any. Certainly there would be people in the world who believe these three have reparations to make.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig (speaker), Frank Volkheimer, Walter Bernd
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:

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Five (January 1941): January Recess Quotes

“Your problem, Werner,” says Frederick, “is that you still believe you own your life.”

Related Characters: Frederick (speaker), Werner Pfennig
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

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Five (January 1941): Intoxicated Quotes

Mostly he misses Jutta: her loyalty, her obstinacy, the way she always seems to recognize what is right.
Though in Werner’s weaker moments, he resents those same qualities in his sister. Perhaps she’s the impurity in him, the static in his signal that the bullies can sense. Perhaps she’s the only thing keeping him from surrendering totally.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig (speaker), Jutta Pfennig (speaker)
Related Symbols: Radio
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:

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Seven (August 1942): White City Quotes

Volkheimer who always makes sure there is food for Werner. Who brings him eggs, who shares his broth, whose fondness for Werner remains, it seems, unshakable…

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig, Frank Volkheimer
Page Number: 366
Explanation and Analysis:

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Werner waits for the child to blink. Blink, he thinks, blink blink blink. Already Volkheimer is closing the closet door, though it won’t close all the way because the girl’s foot is sticking out of it, and Bernd is covering the woman on the bed with a blanket, and how could Neumann Two not have known, but of course he didn’t, because that is how things are with Neumann Two, with everybody in this unit, in this army, in this world, they do as they’re told, they get scared, they move about with only themselves in mind. Name me someone who does not.

Related Characters: Werner Pfennig, Frank Volkheimer, Neumann Two
Page Number: 368
Explanation and Analysis:

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Nine (May 1944): The Girl Quotes

Neumann One raises a single steady hand. His mouth is expressionless, but in the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes, Werner can see despair. “In the end,” murmurs Volkheimer as the truck heaves away, “none of us will avoid it.”

Related Characters: Frank Volkheimer (speaker), Werner Pfennig, Neumann One
Page Number: 424
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ten (12 August 1944): Comrades Quotes

“The cease-fire is scheduled for noon, or so they say,” von Rumpel says in an empty voice. “No need to rush. Plenty of time.” He jogs the fingers of one hand down a miniature street. “We want the same thing, you and I, Private. But only one of us can have it. And only I know where it is. Which presents a problem for you. Is it here or here or here or here?”

Related Characters: Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel (speaker), Werner Pfennig
Related Symbols: The Sea of Flames
Page Number: 464
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ten (12 August 1944): Cease-fire Quotes

She reaches for his hand, sets something in his palm, and squeezes his hand into a fist. “Goodbye, Werner.”
“Goodbye, Marie-Laure.”
Then she goes. Every few paces, the tip of her cane strikes a broken stone in the street, and it takes a while to pick her way around it. Step step pause. Step step again. Her cane testing, the wet hem of her dress swinging, the white pillowcase held aloft. He does not look away until she is through the intersection, down the next block, and out of sight.

Related Characters: Marie-Laure LeBlanc (speaker), Werner Pfennig (speaker)
Page Number: 477
Explanation and Analysis:

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Werner Pfennig Character Timeline in All the Light We Cannot See

The timeline below shows where the character Werner Pfennig appears in All the Light We Cannot See. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Zero (August 7, 1944): The Boy
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
...the same time that Marie-Laure is sitting in her home, an 18-year-old German soldier named Werner Pfennig is sitting in a hotel, the so-called “Hotel of Bees,” five streets north. The... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Werner prepares to fire Her Majesty. He hears the airplanes approaching, and he fires—the cannon gives... (full context)
Zero (August 7, 1944): Cellar
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Werner Pfennig sits in the Hotel of Bees, manning Her Majesty. His staff sergeant, Frank Volkheimer,... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Werner closes his eyes—in spite of himself, he thinks of his childhood, long ago. He imagines... (full context)
Zero (August 7, 1944): Bombs Away
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...seconds away from being dropped. Suddenly, there’s a loud roar—loud enough to turn people deaf. Werner and the Austrians fire their guns, but hit nothing. In her room, Marie-Laure cowers and... (full context)
One (1934): Zollverein
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Werner Pfennig grows up in a town called Zollverein, near the city of Essen, Germany, with... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
As Werner grows up, he begins walking by the nearby mines. One day, he takes Jutta to... (full context)
One (1934): Radio
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Meanwhile Werner is eight years old, and Jutta is six. One day, they find a radio near... (full context)
One (1934): Something Rising
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Werner is lonely as a child—while the other children play outside, Werner learns how to build... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
One evening, Werner turns on his radio and shares it with the other orphans. It is 1936, and... (full context)
One (1934): Our Flag Flutters Before Us
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
The year when Werner turns ten, the two oldest boys in his orphanage leave to join the Hitler Youth... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Werner continues to develop an interest in the science of sound. He reads science magazines when... (full context)
One (1934): The Professor
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Jutta shows Werner that she’s discovered ten yards of copper wire lying in the mud near their orphanage.... (full context)
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
One night, Werner uses his newly powerful radio to listen to a broadcast about the history of coal.... (full context)
One (1934): Open Your Eyes
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
After discovering the Frenchman’s radio broadcasts on science, Werner and Jutta make every effort to listen to them. Over time, the siblings learn about... (full context)
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
Every time Werner listens to the Frenchman on the radio, he has the strange sense that the man’s... (full context)
One (1934): The Principles of Mechanics
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
A government official and his wife visit Werner’s orphanage. To prepare, all the orphans are washed and carefully dressed to impress their visitors.... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
During the government official’s visit, Werner can’t help but continue reading his book. Suddenly, the official sees that Werner isn’t paying... (full context)
One (1934): Bigger Faster Brighter
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
...all young boys are required to sign up for membership in the Hitler Youth program. Werner is taught how to march in Nazi parades, and he learns to run fast. Everyone... (full context)
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
One day, Jutta tells Werner that a local woman has been kicked out of the pool for being half-Jewish. Jutta... (full context)
One (1934): Letter #1: Jutta
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
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Jutta writes a letter to the Frenchman who broadcasts about science. Jutta and Werner have discovered that the Frenchman is no longer broadcasting regularly. Jutta asks the Frenchman if... (full context)
One (1934): Good Evening. Or Heil Hitler if You Prefer
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
Fate, Duty, and Free Will Theme Icon
Werner turns fourteen in May of 1940. By this time, the Hitler Youth are a powerful... (full context)
One (1934): Making Socks
World War II, the Nazis, and the French Resistance Theme Icon
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Werner wakes up one night, and finds Jutta lying next to him. Jutta is drawing, as... (full context)
One (1934): Herr Siedler
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One evening, a lance corporal wearing a swastika arrives at Werner’s orphanage. As the corporal walks through the building, Werner feels a rush of fear and... (full context)
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Herr Siedler is impressed with Werner’s quick thinking and obvious intelligence. He offers Werner a piece of delicious cake, which Werner... (full context)
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Werner returns to the orphanage. He explains that he fixed the commander’s radio, but doesn’t add... (full context)
Two (8 August 1944): Hotel of Bees
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Werner lies on the floor in the secure area of the Hotel of Bees. The bombing... (full context)
Two (8 August 1944): Trapped
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Werner is still lying on the floor in the Hotel of Bees. Slowly, a light emerges,... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Entrance Exam
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Werner is sitting at his entrance exam for the National Political Institute of Education. He and... (full context)
Three (June 1940): You Have Been Called
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Werner returns from his rigorous exams, and the children at the orphanage are eager to hear... (full context)
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In the months before he starts classes at the Institute, Werner tries to talk to Frau Elena. Elena is sad that Werner is going to the... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Don’t Tell Lies
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Werner has been admitted to the National Institute, and is about to leave the orphanage for... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Jungmänner
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Werner has arrived at the National Institute, a huge, imposing building where he’ll spend the next... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Hauptmann
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One day, Werner and his peers are taught by an old doctor named Hauptmann. Hauptmann gives every student... (full context)
Three (June 1940): The Sum of Angles
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After his spectacular performance as an engineer for Dr. Hauptmann, Werner is summoned to the technical sciences professors, and asked about his interest in the sciences.... (full context)
Three (June 1940): The Professor
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...lecture on the history of coal (which we, the readers, recognize as the same lecture Werner and Jutta listened to years before). Etienne explains that his brother, Henri (Mari-Laure’s grandfather) was... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Letters #2-4: Werner to Jutta
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Werner writes a letter to Jutta, telling his sister that Dr. Hauptmann is planning to recommend... (full context)
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In a second letter to his sister, Werner explains that the Institute has taught the students the story of Reiner Schicker, a soldier... (full context)
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In his final letter to Jutta, Werner describes the field exercises in which he’s participated. The other boys are excited for the... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Weakest
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Werner proceeds with his field exercises. His commander is a cruel man named Bastian, who urges... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Blackbirds
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Werner has settled into a comfortable routine at the National Institute: he learns phrenology (a pseudoscience... (full context)
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Werner considers his teachers. There is Volkheimer, “the giant,” who is an older teenager and an... (full context)
Three (June 1940): Weakest (#2)
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In December 1940, Werner participates in more training exercises. One day, Bastian asks Helmut Rödel, a tough, mean child,... (full context)
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...Bastian orders everyone to sing a patriotic German song, and then he dismisses his students. Werner can’t force himself to look at Frederick. The narrator notes that Werner is now almost... (full context)
Four (8 August 1944): Atelier de Réparation
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Werner looks at Bernd the engineer, horrified. Volkheimer is trying to free everyone from the ruins... (full context)
Four (8 August 1944): What They Have
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...barring his escape. In between his attempts, Volkheimer offers Bernd some water from his canteen. Werner notes that the soldiers have a few grenades left in their possession, but of course... (full context)
Five (January 1941): January Recess
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In January of 1941, Frederick invites Werner to travel to Berlin with him and meet Frederick’s family. Frederick has been slow and... (full context)
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Werner and Frederick travel to Berlin by train. In the city, Frederick takes Werner to his... (full context)
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In the evening, Werner meets Frederick’s mother and father. More guests come by the house, and everyone has a... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Prisoner
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...cold water. It’s freezing out, and this will surely cause the prisoner to die eventually. Werner takes his place in line, and soaks the prisoner when it’s his turn, even though... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Entropy
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...forced to outrun the rest of the soldiers, then beaten for failing to do so. Werner tries to focus on his work in Hauptmann’s laboratory. Hauptmann continues to lavish Werner with... (full context)
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One evening, Werner and Volkheimer discuss the prisoner who died. Volkheimer claims that the professors bring out the... (full context)
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...the students bully Frederick by leaving dead animals in his bed and pushing him around. Werner tries to look out for Frederick by helping him with work and polishing his boots.... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Nadel im Heuhaufen
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Late at night, Werner, Volkheimer, and Dr. Hauptmann go outside to test their transceiver. The purpose of the device,... (full context)
Five (January 1941): You Have Other Friends
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The boys in the National Institute bully Frederick horribly. Werner alone looks out for his friend, helping him whenever he can. Late at night, Werner... (full context)
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One day Werner asks Frederick why he doesn’t just leave the National Institute and return to Berlin. Frederick... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Weakest (#3)
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One day in April, Werner wakes up to find that Frederick is not in his bunk. He’s told that the... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Intoxicated
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...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... (full context)
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Werner continues to receive letters from Jutta, though they’re almost completely censored. These letters make Werner... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Letter #8: Jutta to Werner
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In this letter, Jutta asks Werner why he hasn’t been writing to her, but the rest of her complaint is censored.... (full context)
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Werner finishes reading the letter and looks at what Jutta has sent him: the notebook of... (full context)
Five (January 1941): No Out
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It is January, 1942, and Werner has just asked Dr. Hauptmann to be sent back to his home in the orphanage.... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Everything Poisoned
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At the National Institute, Werner surveys the Nazi banners hanging on the wall, ordering everyone to serve the German state.... (full context)
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In 1942, Dr. Hauptmann calls Werner to his office. Hauptmann reports that he’s being called to Berlin to serve the Reich.... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Letter #9: Werner to Jutta
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Werner writes Jutta a letter that’s heavily censored (more than 75% of it is blacked out).... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Orders
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Werner is summoned to speak with the commandant at the National Institute. The commandant calls Werner... (full context)
Five (January 1941): Frederick
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Werner has been transferred to the German army. Before he’s shipped out, however, he makes a... (full context)
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Werner goes to see Frederick, who is sitting in bed, being fed his meal. Frederick seems... (full context)
Six (8 August 1944): The Death of Walter Bernd
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...then sits upright and begs for water. He looks up and stares at Volkheimer and Werner. He explains that he visited his father last year. His father had asked Bernd to... (full context)
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As Bernd’s voice fades away, Werner decides to work on the radio beside him. The transceiver is crushed, but he tries... (full context)
Six (8 August 1944): Making the Radio
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Werner tries to repair his radio. He experiments with the wires inside, and tries to press... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Prisoners
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In the summer of 1942, Werner has just begun his tour of the German army. A corporal welcomes Werner—now wearing a... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): East
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Werner and his fellow soldiers travel east from Germany, toward Russia. From the train, he sees... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Volkheimer
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After reuniting with Volkheimer, Werner meets his other fellow soldiers. There is an engineer named Walter Bernd, who’s very taciturn.... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Sunflowers
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Werner and his peers travel across the Russian front. None of the soldiers seem to take... (full context)
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One day, the soldiers monitor a transceiver, and Werner detects a signal. He realizes that there is a large, unusual “object” nearby. Volkheimer orders... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Hunting
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It is January, 1943. Werner continues monitoring radio transmissions on the Russian front. Whenever he finds a new radio transmission,... (full context)
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...by a young German soldier with twitching eyes—Neumann One explains that frostbite destroyed his eyelids. Werner writes nothing to Jutta. (full context)
Seven (August 1942): Fever
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Werner develops a horrible fever during his time in the army. His fellow soldiers take care... (full context)
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As the months drag on, Werner thinks more about Jutta and Frau Elena. One day, he and the other soldiers are... (full context)
Seven (August 1942): White City
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It is April, 1944. Werner and the troops travel to Vienna. There, they enjoy the fun of the town—good food... (full context)
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...Volkheimer calls the soldiers together. They’ve received rumors of an enemy transmission in the city. Werner uses his equipment to find the house where the enemy signal is being broadcast. Volkheimer... (full context)
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The mother of the dead child begins to cry. Werner wonders how Neumann Two could have shot a child. Then he realizes the truth—everybody, himself... (full context)
Eight (9 August 1944): The Heads
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Werner, still trapped under the hotel, tries to use his radio to call for help. He... (full context)
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Werner contemplates using the electrical wire in Volkheimer’s light to repair the radio. This could give... (full context)
Eight (9 August 1944): The Beams
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Under the hotel, Werner tries to fix his radio. As he works, Volkheimer mentions that his great-grandfather was a... (full context)
Eight (9 August 1944): Voice
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Werner has spent four days beneath the Hotel of Bees. He fiddles with his radio. Suddenly,... (full context)
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Werner thinks back to Jutta. He remembers hearing about a Nazi rally when he was a... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Edge of the World
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While touring the army, Werner receives a letter from Jutta. Volkheimer reads the letter to Werner while they ride in... (full context)
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One day, Werner and the troops are sent to see an important colonel (whom we recognize as the... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Hunting (Again)
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The soldiers search across the coast of France for evidence of a radio broadcast. Werner and Bernd are sent to the Hotel of Bees, where they spend long hours trying... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Letter #11: From Werner to Jutta
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Werner apologizes to Jutta for not having written for a few months. He explains that his... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): “Claire de Lune”
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Werner and the soldiers search through Saint-Malo for the radio signal. One night, while it’s raining,... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Antenna
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Eight soldiers are permanently installed at the Hotel of Bees, including Werner, Volkheimer, and Bernd. Werner continues to listen to the radio broadcast he remembers from his... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Boulangerie
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Werner walks toward Etienne’s house, wondering how he can talk his way inside without making the... (full context)
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Werner walks toward the house, and sees a teenaged girl wearing thick glasses. After studying her... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): The Girl
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In the days following his visit to the outside of Etienne’s house, Werner can’t stop thinking of the blind girl with the cane. He wonders if she’s related... (full context)
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...needs two more Germans to come to the front. Volkheimer sends Neumann One and Neumann Two—Werner needs to stay and operate the radio. The Neumanns are terrified of being sent to... (full context)
Nine (May 1944): Leaflets
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...them at any moment, but also know that there’s no point in running away now. Werner can only think of the young woman who lives in Etienne’s house. As he thinks,... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Entombed
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...room, Marie-Laure broadcasts her readings of Jules Verne. On the other side of the city, Werner listens to Marie-Laure’s voice. As Volkheimer listens along with him, Werner admits the truth: he’d... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Final Sentence
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Werner sits in his chamber under the hotel, listening to Marie-Laure read the final chapters of... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Music #2
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It is late at night in Saint-Malo. Werner sleeps beneath the hotel—only Volkheimer is awake. He fiddles with the radio, trying to find... (full context)
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...and begins stacking heavy pieces of timber and masonry into one corner. Then he pulls Werner behind the barrier, and produces a grenade. Volkheimer has decided to do what he and... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Out
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Volkheimer has just detonated a grenade. Werner looks up and sees a mound of stone and wood falling down. The barricade that... (full context)
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Volkheimer and Werner stagger through Saint-Malo, barely able to believe that they’re still alive. Volkheimer passes Werner his... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Comrades
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Werner enters Etienne’s house, armed with a rifle. He climbs up the stairs, looking for any... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): The Simultaneity of Instants
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We return to the wardrobe. Werner can sense someone just a few inches away from him, on the other side of... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Are You There?
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...many cells—and eventually becomes an entire human body. Suddenly, we cut back to Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure decides to emerge from the wardrobe, and Werner helps her get out. (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Second Can
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Werner has just helped Marie-Laure out of the wardrobe. He tells her, “You are very brave.”... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Birds of America
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Marie-Laure shows Werner the radio room: there are phonographs and records, including the records that Werner loved so... (full context)
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There are many hours to go before the ceasefire at noon, Werner tells Marie-Laure. Marie-Laure and Werner decide to sleep in the cellar until this time. They... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Cease-fire
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Werner and Marie-Laure wake up in the cellar and have no idea what time it is.... (full context)
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As Marie-Laure and Werner walk along, Marie-Laure suddenly pulls Werner off the road. She says that she needs to... (full context)
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Werner tells Marie-Laure that it’s time for them to part ways. He points her toward the... (full context)
Ten (12 August 1944): Light
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Werner is captured by French resistance fighters, about a mile south of Saint-Malo. He’s sent to... (full context)
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One night in prison, Werner is rushed to the hospital. In his delirium, Werner thinks he can hear Volkheimer’s voice,... (full context)
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...perspective of an American guard at the prison. The guard sees a young German prisoner (Werner) walking out of the hospital toward the trees. The guard points a gun at the... (full context)
Eleven (1945): Berlin
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...which she sees the bodies of dead children. Throughout these months, Jutta remembers playing with Werner as a child. (full context)
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...the fall of 1944, Jutta had received a letter in which she was told that Werner was killed. As April 1945 begins, Jutta tries to move on with her life, protecting... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Volkheimer
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...at photographs of a notebook marked with the letters W and P. Immediately, Volkheimer remembers Werner Pfennig. He also sees a photograph of a small model house, which he doesn’t recognize. (full context)
Twelve (1974): Jutta
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...child during the war, and a child named Max, whose ears stick out, much as Werner’s did. One day, Jutta receives a visit from a huge, mean-looking man who reminds her... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Duffel
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Volkheimer has just left Jutta’s house, leaving behind a duffel bag of Werner’s possessions. Jutta tries to avoid opening the bag, but she can’t concentrate on anything else.... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Saint-Malo
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...last chapter, Jutta and Max have left Essen by train for Saint-Malo. Jutta is carrying Werner’s notebook, along with the tiny model house (which was also in the duffel bag). As... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Visitor
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Marie-Laure has just been introduced to Jutta Pfennig, the sister of Werner. Jutta introduces her son, Max, and explains that she’s come to deliver something to Marie-Laure.... (full context)
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Marie-Laure and Jutta continue talking about Werner. Marie-Laure explains that she left Werner with the key to the grotto, which guarded the... (full context)
Twelve (1974): The Key
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Marie-Laure sits in her laboratory at the Natural History Museum, thinking of Werner. She realizes that after she and Werner parted ways in 1944, Werner must have gone... (full context)
Twelve (1974): Frederick
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...woman from Essen” (whom we recognize to be Jutta), and contains a second letter, from Werner to Frederick. Frederick is uninterested in this letter. Frederick’s mother opens it alone, and inside... (full context)
Thirteen (2014)
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...possible that souls could walk the streets as well: the souls of Etienne, Madame Manec, Werner Pfennig, and even Marie-Laure’s father. Perhaps their souls are walking the streets, but the living... (full context)