Maus

Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman

A young Jewish-American man who works to write a comic book about his father’s experience during the Holocaust. Artie struggles with feelings of anger and resentment toward his parents, Vladek and Anja, as well… (read full character analysis)

Vladek Spiegelman

Artie’s father. A Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, Vladek is burdened by memories of fear, suffering, and loss that, until beginning his interviews with Artie, he has not addressed in years. As a young… (read full character analysis)

Anja (Anna) Spiegelman

Artie’s mother and Vladek’s late wife. A sensitive and highly intelligent woman, Anja survives the Holocaust but dies by suicide 1968. She dies almost ten years before Artie begins work on Maus(read full character analysis)

Françoise Mouly

Artie’s wife, a French woman who converted to Judaism after her marriage in order to please Vladek. Level-headed and even-tempered, Françoise is often called upon to defuse tension between her husband and father-in-law… (read full character analysis)

Mala Spiegelman

Vladek’s second wife, whom he marries shortly after Anja dies. Mala feels stifled by Vladek, and resents him for his stinginess and his expectation that she will cater to all his neuroses. Her frustration and… (read full character analysis)
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Mr. Zylberberg

Anja’s father, whom Vladek always refers to as “father-in-law.” The wealthy owner of a hosiery factory, Mr. Zylberberg is a devoted family man who does everything he can to protect his wife, Matka(read full character analysis)

Richieu

Vladek and Anja’s firstborn son. Richieu dies during the war, when his Aunt Tosha poisons him to prevent him from being captured by Nazi soldiers during the evacuation of Zawiercie. Though they never talked… (read full character analysis)

Tosha

Anja’s older sister. Tosha is married to Wolfe, and is mother to Bibi. After the war begins, Tosha carries a vial of poison around her neck at all times. When the Germans… (read full character analysis)

Herman

Anja’s brother. Herman is married to Helen, and is the father of Lolek and Lonia. Herman and Helen are in New York, visiting the World’s Fair, when the war breaks out. They… (read full character analysis)

Helen (Hela)

Anja’s sister-in-law. Helen is married to Herman, and is the mother of Lolek and Lonia. Helen and Herman are in New York, visiting the World’s Fair, when the war breaks out. They… (read full character analysis)

Lolek

Anja’s nephew. Lolek is the son of Herman and Helen, and older brother of Lonia. Because his parents are abroad when the war breaks out, he stays with Anja and Vladek throughout… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Ilzecki

A Jewish tailor in Sosnowiec, to whom Vladek sells black-market cloth at the beginning of the war. Ilzecki has a young son, about the same age as Richieu, whom he hides in the home… (read full character analysis)

Haskel Spiegelman

Vladek’s cousin, the brother of Miloch and Pesach. Haskel is the chief of the Jewish Police in Srodula. He helps Vladek, Anja, and Lolek escape the detention center in Srodula, but refuses… (read full character analysis)

Mancie

A beautiful, intelligent Hungarian woman imprisoned in Birkenau with Anja, who passes news and letters between the Vladek and Anja during their time in the camp. After the evacuation of Birkenau, Mancie keeps Anja… (read full character analysis)

The French Man

A prisoner in Dachau, with whom Vladek becomes friendly. He cannot remember the man’s name, but remembers how they helped one another remain alive and sane through difficult days in the camp. He and Vladek… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Howie
Artie’s childhood friend in Rego Park.
Steve
Artie’s childhood friend in Rego Park.
Lucia Greenberg
A Jewish woman in Poland with whom Vladek is romantically involved before meeting Anja.
Yulek
A mutual friend of Vladek and Lucia, who introduces them.
Miss Stefanska
A seamstress who hides Communist documents for Anja during a police raid, and ends up spending months in prison as a result.
Matka Zylberberg
Anja’s mother, a religious woman who cares tenderly for her children and grandchildren, and fights to keep her family together amidst the chaos of the war. Mrs. Zylberberg dies in Auschwitz, after Haskel and Jakov Spiegelman refuse to help smuggle her and her husband out of Srodula.
Orbach
A friend of Vladek’s uncle, who claims Vladek as his cousin in order to free him from German custody during his time in Lublin.
Wolfe
Anja’s brother-in-law. Wolfe is married to Tosha, and is the father of Bibi. He dies on a train to Auschwitz, shot while trying to escape.
Bibi
Anja’s niece, the daughter of Tosha and Wolfe. Bibi dies during the war, when her mother poisons her to prevent her from being captured by Nazi soldiers during the evacuation of Zawiercie.
Lonia
Anja’s niece. Lonia is the daughter of Herman and Helen, and younger sister of Lolek. Lonia dies during the war, when her Aunt Tosha poisons her to prevent her from being captured by Nazi soldiers during the evacuation of Zawiercie.
Mr. Spiegelman
Vladek’s father, a religious man who owns a seltzer factory before the war breaks out. He is devoted to his family, and voluntarily follows his daughter Fela to a concentration camp in an effort to protect her and help care for her four children.
Mrs. Spiegelman
Vladek’s mother, who dies of cancer shortly after the war breaks out and never knows the horrors of the ghettos or concentration camps.
Janina
A Polish woman who works as Richieu’s governess in the months before and just after the war breaks out. Vladek and Anja seek help from Janina while they are trying to hide in Sosnowiec, but she refuses them.
Nahum Cohn
A Jewish man from Sosnowiec, and a friend of Mr. Zylberberg. Nahum Cohn owns a dry goods store, and does business with Vladek at the beginning of the war. German soldiers hang Cohn, along with his son and two other Jews, for dealing goods on the black market.
Pfefer Cohn
A Jewish man from Sosnowiec, and the son of Nahum Cohn. German soldiers hang Cohn, along with his father and two other Jews, for dealing goods on the black market.
Mr. Karmio
Anja’s grandfather, and the father of Matka Zylberberg. He and his wife are sent to Auschwitz, where they are immediately killed in the gas chambers, shortly after the family moves to Stara Sosnowiec.
Mrs. Karmio
Anja’s grandmother, and the mother of Matka Zylberberg. She and her husband are sent to Auschwitz, where they are immediately killed in the gas chambers, shortly after the family moves to Stara Sosnowiec.
Mordecai
A cousin of Vladek and the other Spiegelman’s, who works for the Jewish Council. During the mass registration of Jews in Sosnowiec, the Spiegelmans present their papers to Mordecai, in the hope that he can help keep them safe.
Persis
Wolfe’s uncle, the head of the Jewish Council in the Zawiercie ghetto. Persis has some influence with the German soldiers in Zawiercie, and takes Wolfe’s family — as well as Lonia and Richieu — under his protection.
Moniek Merin
The head of the Jewish Council in the Srodula ghetto. Merin is only invested in his own well-being, and cooperates with the Germans instead of trying to protect the Jews of Srodula.
Ruth
A friend of Mala, who gives her a copy of Artie’s comic “Prisoner on the Hell Planet.”
Jakov Spiegelman
Vladek’s cousin, who helps Vladek arrange his family’s escape from the detention center in Srodula.
Miloch Spiegelman
Vladek’s cousin, the brother of Haskel and Pesach. Miloch works repairing shoes for the German soldiers. He allows Vladek and Anja to hide in his bunker during the evacuation of Srodula.
Pesach Spiegelman
Vladek’s cousin, the brother of Haskel and Miloch. Pesach is a member of the Jewish Police in Srodula.
Avram
A young man who hides with Vladek and Anja in Miloch’s bunker. Avram trusts Vladek’s judgment, and decides he will not leave the bunker until Vladek does so.
Mr. Lukowski
The Zylberberg’s longtime janitor, who helps Vladek and Anja hide when they return to Sosnowiec from Srodula.
Mrs. Kawka
A Sosnowiec farmer who allows Vladek and Anja to hide in her barn after they return from Srodula.
Mrs. Motonowa
A Polish woman whom Vladek meets trading goods on the black market after his return from Srodula. Mrs. Motonowa hides Vladek and Anja in her home throughout the winter of 1944.
Mr. Mandelbaum
A Jewish man from Sosnowiec, who becomes a close friend of Vladek’s during their early days in Auschwitz. Vladek and Mandelbaum plan to escape to Hungary in the same smuggling party, and are sent to Auschwitz together after the smugglers betray them.
Abraham
A Jewish man from Sosnowiec. Abraham is Mr. Mandelbaum’s nephew. He volunteers to be smuggled into Hungary first, so he can report about the conditions in the country and the trustworthiness of the smugglers.
Frank
One of Vladek and Mala’s neighbors in Rego Park.
Pinek Spiegelman
Vladek’s younger brother, who lives in Israel. Pinek deserts from the Polish army and flees to Russia with his brother Leon, where a family of peasant Jews take them in and keep them safe. He is the only one of Vladek’s siblings to survive the war.
Mrs. Karp
One of Vladek’s neighbors in the Catskill Mountains, who looks in on Vladek after Mala leaves him. Mrs. Karp is a Holocaust survivor, as is her husband, Edgar.
Edgar Karp
One of Vladek’s neighbors in the Catskill Mountains, who looks in on Vladek after Mala leaves him. Edgar Karp is a Holocaust survivor, as is his wife.
Nadja Mouly Spiegelman
Artie and Françoise’s daughter, who is born shortly after Artie begins work on the second volume of Maus.
Pavel
Artie’s therapist, a Czech Jew and Holocaust survivor. Pavel helps Artie mine the complexities and moral problems inherent to telling stories about the Holocaust, and helps him confront the frightening challenges of representing Auschwitz.
Yidl
A Russian Jewish man imprisoned in Auschwitz, who heads the tin shop where Vladek works after his arrival in the camp.
The Priest
A Polish man imprisoned in Auschwitz, whom Vladek meets on his first night in the camp. Though they meet only once, their conversation gives Vladek a sense of hope that sustains him through the dark times to come.
Felix
A young Belgian man Vladek meets in Auschwitz. Guards write down Felix’s serial number during one selection, and he screams inconsolably throughout the night that follows as he waits to be taken to his death.
Shivek
A friend of Vladek’s from Sosnowiec, with whom he reunites during the last days of the war. Vladek and Shivek spend their first weeks of freedom together, but are separated during the journey back to Sosnowiec.
Levek Zylberberg
Anja’s middle brother, who flees to Russia at the beginning of the war, then returns to Poland and dies in Warsaw.
Josef Zylberberg
Anja’s youngest brother, an artist who dies by suicide near the beginning of the war.
Sonia
Josef’s materialistic girlfriend, who abandons him after he loses his money at the beginning of the war. Vladek blames Sonia for Josef’s suicide.
Zosha Spiegelman
Vladek’s younger sister, who dies in Auschwitz.
Yadja Spiegelman
Vladek’s younger sister, who dies in Auschwitz.
Marcus Spiegelman
Vladek’s brother, who is imprisoned in a labor camp called Blechamer near the beginning of the war. The man who tells Vladek about Marcus’s death refuses to tell him how, exactly, he died.
Moses Spiegelman
Vladek’s brother, who is imprisoned in a labor camp called Blechamer near the beginning of the war. The man who tells Vladek about Moses’s death refuses to tell him how, exactly, he died.
Leon Spiegelman
Vladek’s brother, who deserts from the Polish army and flees to Russia with his brother Pinek, where a family of peasant Jews take them in and keep them safe. Leon dies of appendicitis.
Sarah
Pinek’s wife, a Russian Jewish woman whose family harbors Pinek and Leon during the war.
Jenny
A Jewish woman from Sosnowiec, whom Vladek meets in the Belsen displaced persons camp while looking for information about Anja.
Sonia
A Jewish woman from Sosnowiec, whom Vladek meets in the Belsen displaced persons camp while looking for information about Anja.
Mr. Gelber
A Jewish man from Sosnowiec, who is murdered when he returns to Sosnowiec at the end of the war.
Leo
Mala’s brother, who lives in Florida.
Fela
Vladek’s sister. When she is sent to a concentration camp with her four children, her and Vladek's father, Mr. Spiegelman, voluntarily sneaks into line with her in order to help her and her children. None survive.