City of Thieves

Abendroth Character Analysis

A high-ranking Einsatzgruppen (death squad) officer in the Nazi army. He's a very large and strong man and keeps teenage Russian girls as sex slaves, and enjoys playing chess. When one of his captives, Zoya, tries to run away, he saws her feet off in front of the other girls as an example. He agrees to play chess against Lev and bets Vika's freedom and a dozen eggs if he loses. Lev both defeats Abendroth at chess and then stabs and kills him.

Abendroth Quotes in City of Thieves

The City of Thieves quotes below are all either spoken by Abendroth or refer to Abendroth. 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:
Growing Up Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of City of Thieves published in 2009.
Chapter 22 Quotes

"We're pawns and he's a rook, that's what you're saying."
"We're less than pawns. Pawns have value."
"If we can take a rook, we have value, too."

Related Characters: Kolya Vlasov (speaker), Vika (speaker), Lev Beniov, Abendroth
Related Symbols: Chess
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 23 Quotes

I have never been much of a patriot. My father would not have allowed such a thing while he lived, and his death insured that his wish was carried out. Piter commanded far more affection and loyalty from me than the nation as a whole. But that night, running across the unplowed fields of winter wheat, with the Fascist invaders behind us and the dark Russian woods before us, I felt a surge of pure love for my country.

Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:
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Abendroth Character Timeline in City of Thieves

The timeline below shows where the character Abendroth appears in City of Thieves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon
...didn't know where she was. The officers went out looking for her. Lara says that Abendroth, the man who gives orders, led the hunt. He always got Zoya first when he... (full context)
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Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
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...Zoya, who was dirty, bruised, and naked. Zoya had taken Lara's coat and boots, and Abendroth told Lara to get the saw. Nina begins crying as Lara continues the story. The... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...his rifle but doesn't know if he's hit anyone, but he'll know when he shoots Abendroth. (full context)
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...can't stop thinking about Zoya. Kolya instructs him to think of her when he stabs Abendroth, but Lev says he doesn't think he can do it. Kolya asks what the record... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...to be mysterious, keeps his orders secret. Vika shares that she's looking for Einsatz, particularly Abendroth, and Lev shares that Lara said that Abendroth is in a house by the lake.... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...reader that Lara, Nina, Galina, and Olesya left the farmhouse when the partisans did. Since Abendroth had taken their coats and boots after Zoya ran, the girls had to layer sweaters... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...Markov wants to shoot at these soldiers, who are just infantry, but Vika counsels that Abendroth travels with this company and must be close. Lev thinks of Zoya as Vika suggests... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Lev asks Vika if the commander leading the test was Abendroth, and Vika answers that Abendroth is a rank above the man who was testing them.... (full context)
Chapter 22
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
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...and points to a car at the end of the convoy. She says that it's Abendroth's, and decides she'll take a shot at it when the convoy starts moving again. Lev... (full context)
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Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
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...to Lev and Vika, sharing that he told the soldiers he had a wager for Abendroth that 15-year-old Lev could beat Abendroth at chess without a queen. When Lev protests that... (full context)
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Kolya explains that if Lev loses the chess game, Abendroth can shoot them all, and if Lev wins, Abendroth sets them free. When Vika says... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...the others sleep, Lev, Kolya, and Vika sit up and discuss their plans for if Abendroth sends for them. Vika insists that they'll be searched for weapons. She removes her knife... (full context)
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...two soldiers escort Lev, Kolya, and Vika to the Party building the Nazis are using. Abendroth sits at an end of a long table, drinking clear alcohol, with a traveling chessboard... (full context)
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Abendroth, in perfect Russian, tells Lev, Vika, and Kolya that he's drinking plum schnapps, and asks... (full context)
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Abendroth addresses his soldiers in German and asks Kolya to translate what he said for Lev... (full context)
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Abendroth considers the situation and asks if Lev, Kolya, and Vika have information to trade, but... (full context)
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Lev asks for Abendroth's word that he'll let Vika go, and Abendroth agrees, after wondering if Vika likes "the... (full context)
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Abendroth pulls out a coin to toss and begin the chess game with Lev, telling him... (full context)
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Two soldiers now stand behind Kolya and Vika, and Abendroth and Lev begin exchanging pieces. Abendroth remarks that Jews make great violinists and chess players.... (full context)
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After another sequence of moves, Abendroth has unknowingly committed a fatal error. Lev looks at Vika, proud of his victory, but... (full context)
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Abendroth then realizes what Lev is trying to do and tackles him to the floor. Abendroth... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...and his knife is an actual weapon. He tells the reader that the images of Abendroth and the dying boy soldier have stayed with him, but he felt nothing but exhilaration... (full context)