Maus

Anja (Anna) Spiegelman Character Analysis

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, but her death continues to haunt both Artie and Vladek. Though she suffers from severe depression and anxiety throughout her life — illnesses whose effects are exacerbated by the trauma of the Holocaust, and especially by the loss of her son, Richieu, during the war — Anja draws strength from her relationships with her family, which allows her to endure the darkest moments of the war. Less invested in her own well-being than most people imprisoned in the camps, Anja cares for others even during the most frightening and difficult periods of her life. She inspires affection and loyalty in many people, and especially in Vladek, who continues to adore her long after her death.

Anja (Anna) Spiegelman Quotes in Maus

The Maus quotes below are all either spoken by Anja (Anna) Spiegelman or refer to Anja (Anna) Spiegelman. 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:
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Pantheon edition of Maus published in 1993.
Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

In 1968 my mother killed herself … she left no note!

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman
Page Number: I.100
Explanation and Analysis:

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Well, Mom, if you’re listening … Congratulations! … You’ve committed the perfect crime … You put me here … shorted all my circuits … cut my nerve endings … and crossed my wires! … You murdered me, Mommy, and you left me here to take the rap!!!

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman
Page Number: I.103
Explanation and Analysis:

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Haskel took from me Father-in-Law’s jewels. But, finally, he didn’t help them. On Wednesday the vans came. Anja and I saw her father at the window. He was tearing his hair and crying. He was a millionaire, but even this didn’t save him his life.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman, Mr. Zylberberg, Haskel Spiegelman
Page Number: I.115
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anja: The whole family is gone! Grandma and grandpa! Poppa! Momma! Tosha! Bibi! My Richieu! Now they’ll take Lolek! … Oh God. Let me die too!

Vladek: Come, Anja, get up!

Anja: Why are you pulling me, Vladek? Let me alone! I don’t want to live!

Vladek: No, darling! To die, it’s easy … but you have to struggle for life! Until the last moment we must struggle together! I need you! And you’ll see that together we’ll survive.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman (speaker), Mr. Zylberberg, Matka Zylberberg, Richieu, Tosha, Bibi, Lolek, Mr. Karmio, Mrs. Karmio
Page Number: I.122
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

And we came here to the concentration camp Auschwitz. And we knew that from here we will not come out anymore … We knew the stories — that they will gas us and throw us in the ovens. This was 1944 … We knew everything. And here we were.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman
Page Number: I.157
Explanation and Analysis:

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Vladek: These notebooks, and other really nice things of mother … one time I had a very bad day … and all of these things I destroyed.

Artie: You what?

Vladek: After Anja died I had to make an order with everything … These papers had too many memories, so I burned them.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman
Page Number: I.158
Explanation and Analysis:

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God damn you! You — you murderer!

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman, Anja (Anna) Spiegelman
Page Number: I.159
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

I never felt guilty about Richieu. But I did have nightmares about S.S. men coming into my class and dragging all us Jewish kids away. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t obsessed with this stuff … It’s just that sometimes I’d fantasize Zyklon B coming out of our shower instead of water. I know this is insane, but I somehow wish I had been in Auschwitz with my parents so I could really know what they lived through! … I guess it’s some kind of guilt about having had an easier life than they did.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Anja (Anna) Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly, Richieu
Page Number: II.16
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

More I don’t need to tell you. We were both very happy, and lived happy, happy ever after.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman, Anja (Anna) Spiegelman
Page Number: II.136
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anja (Anna) Spiegelman Character Timeline in Maus

The timeline below shows where the character Anja (Anna) Spiegelman appears in Maus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
With some trepidation, Vladek begins to tell his story. When he met Anja, he says, he was living in a small city in Poland called Czestochowa, earning a... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...heads of pigs. His cousin tells Vladek that she wants him to meet her friend Anja, who she says is an intelligent girl from a rich family. (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
The next day, Vladek goes with his cousin to meet Anja in town. The two women talk in English, neither knowing Vladek understands them; Anja admits... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Anja and Vladek make plans to talk on the telephone after he returns to Czestochowa. Vladek... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Vladek remembers visiting Anja’s family for the first time. The Zylberbergs owned one of Poland’s biggest hosiery factories, and... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
At the end of 1936, Vladek and Anja are engaged. Vladek is preparing to move to Sosnowiec when, one night, Lucia appears at... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Artie shifts the conversation to his mother. He wants to know whether Anja had boyfriends before Vladek. She never had romances, Vladek says, but she had a male... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...money to open a textile factory. He moves to Bielsko to open the factory, visiting Anja on weekends. That October, 1937, Anja gives birth to a son named Richieu. At the... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Noticing that there are only seven months between February, when Anja and Vladek were married, and October, when Richieu was born, Artie asks whether Richieu was... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Shortly after Richieu is born, Anja begins to experience bouts of severe depression. Vladek returns from Bielsko following an emergency call... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek and Anja travel to Czechoslovakia, to the sanitarium. During their journey, they see a Nazi flag flying... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
The sanitarium is beautiful and peaceful, and Vladek finds he has a talent for helping Anja through the hardest days of her recovery – he understands her illness, he tells Artie.... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
When they return to Poland, after about three months at the sanitarium, Anja is significantly healthier and happier. However, they are greeted by the unhappy news that Vladek’s... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...the Jews to leave the city. Janina blames the Nazis for stirring up anti-Semitic feelings. Anja remarks that the Poles are already disposed toward anti-Semitism without the Nazis’ help; Janina is... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek assures a worried Anja that they can always return to Sosnowiec if Bielsko becomes too violent. When Artie asks... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...This confirms that the war everyone has dreaded for so long has begun in earnest. Anja is terrified. Vladek sends her, Richieu, and Janina to live with Anja’s family in Sosnowiec,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...has been important for him throughout his life: it was Parshas Truma when he married Anja, when Artie was born, and the Saturday of Artie’s Bar Mitzvah. During the train ride... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Despite all the distressing news, Vladek’s reunion with Anja and Richieu is filled with joy. Although it is a difficult time, they are happy... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...his father-in-law’s house is very much the same as it was before he left. He, Anja, and Richieu are living in the house with Anja’s parents and grandparents, as well as... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...talk with his family. When he brings up the subject later, though, he finds that Anja and her parents are violently opposed to the idea of surrendering Richieu into the care... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...parents were killed. Richieu was not so lucky. In the end, Vladek says, he and Anja had to send Richieu away to hide anyway. He begins to tell the story –... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Artie asks what Anja was doing during this time. She spent a lot of time writing in her diaries,... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek, Anja, and Richieu are sent to the right – the good side of the stadium, for... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Mala, who knew Vladek and Anja before the war and lived in Sosnowiec herself, says the Nazis took her mother away... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...hurries into Vladek’s den. Mala, confused, follows him. He tells her that he remembers seeing Anja’s diaries on one of the shelves in the den, and begins sorting through piles of... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...“depressed.” Mala reveals that Vladek has discovered a comic strip Artie published years earlier, about Anja’s suicide. The comic strip, called “Prisoner on the Hell Planet,” was published in an obscure,... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...and grotesque, and Artie appears wearing a prison jumpsuit in every panel. The comic describes Anja’s suicide and the days that followed. Vladek found her in the bathtub, Artie writes, with... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...read it, but that it seemed “accurate” and “objective” – she remembers the days after Anja’s death, and agrees with Artie’s descriptions of that time. Vladek comes inside, and Artie brings... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...was good for Artie to express his feelings. The comic brought up painful memories of Anja, he says – but, of course, he is always thinking of Anja anyway. Mala points... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...than ever before. Each day, they are marched into Sosnowiec to work in German shops: Anja and Tosha in a clothing factory, he and Lolek in a carpentry shop. By this... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
In the summer of 1943, Vladek and the Zylberberg family move houses. He and Anja, Mr. and Mrs. Zylberberg, and Lolek are the only ones left. They build another bunker,... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...detention center. Vladek bribes Haskel with a diamond ring. Haskel says he can get Vladek, Anja, and Lolek out of the ghetto, but that it will be too conspicuous if he... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...in the shoe shop (Haskel has made escape plans of his own) and invite Vladek, Anja, and Lolek to hide with them when the time comes. Lolek refuses to hide. He... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
With Lolek gone, Anja becomes hysterical. They have recently heard the news about Richieu’s death – and the deaths... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Anja and Vladek hide in the bunker with several others. There is almost no food, and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...She remembers how, right after they were married, Vladek tried to force her to wear Anja’s old clothes rather than buying anything new. Artie wonders whether it was the war that... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Artie asks Vladek to resume his story in 1944, when he and Anja left Srodula. Vladek talks: The two of them walk toward Sosnowiec under the cover of... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...get off the streets before dawn, when they are likely to be recognized as Jews, Anja and Vladek walk toward the house where the Zylberberg family lived before the war. Mr.... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...day, Vladek goes into the city. He wants to get a feel for conditions, though Anja is fearful of what might happen to him. As when he convinced the train conductor... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...Kawka who, some of the young men suggest, might be willing to hide him and Anja in exchange for payment. Vladek and Anja move into Mrs. Kawka’s barn, but Vladek soon... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...them and for bringing them food from her black market business. Her little boy loves Anja, who plays games with him and tutors him in German. Things in the house are... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...knowing it is dangerous for them to be on the streets after dark, Vladek and Anja spend the night hiding in a construction site. In the morning, they return to Mrs.... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Just a day or two after Mrs. Motonowa forces Vladek and Anja to leave her house, Vladek meets her again in Dekerta Street. She greets him warmly,... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Back at Mrs. Motonowa’s house, Anja insists she will never go with the smugglers to Hungary. They are safe with Mrs.... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...family by putting them in contact with Mrs. Motonowa, so they can take Vladek and Anja’s place in the house if they leave for Hungary. When he arrives at the house... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...to follow him soon. Vladek and Mandelbaum make arrangements to leave in two days’ time. Anja is terrified – she is convinced the smugglers have arranged some kind of trick, and... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Two days later, Vladek and Anja board a train, along with Mandelbaum, his wife, and the smugglers. They are barely on... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...few days later, the Germans load dozens of prisoners onto a truck, and Vladek and Anja are reunited. Though Anja insists she isn’t hungry, Vladek forces her to take some of... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
The truck takes Vladek, Anja, and the Mandelbaums to Auschwitz. It is now 1944, and every Jew in Poland knows... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Artie asks Vladek to come inside with him and search for Anja’s diaries. Vladek hesitates, then confesses to Artie that he has finally remembered what happened to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...of them and had to choose which one of them would survive. (He usually chose Anja.) (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...whether he and Richieu would get along, if Richieu had survived the war. Vladek and Anja always kept a photograph of Richieu in their bedroom, he says, and as he grew... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...asks Vladek whether they can talk about Auschwitz. He asks what happened after Vladek and Anja were separated upon first arriving. The men were sent to a big hall, Vladek says.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
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...the date of his mother’s suicide – May 1968 – and reminds the audience that Anja left no note when she took her life. An unseen person calls to Artie: “Alright... (full context)
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Artie asks about Anja. Vladek explains that Anja was sent to Birkenau, a much bigger camp about two miles... (full context)
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A few days after they meet, Mancie brings Vladek news of Anja. She tells him Anja is surviving but is very frail, and that she starting “sobbing... (full context)
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...workers to other parts of the camp for other jobs. Vladek is desperate to see Anja, and when the guards order Yidl to send a crew of roofers into Birkenau, he... (full context)
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...some women to Auschwitz from Birkenau to work in the munitions factory. He writes to Anja with news of these barracks, and begins working to bring her over as a munitions... (full context)
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For a time after Anja’s transfer, Vladek is able to toss her packages of food through the barbed wire fence... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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...the war, he says, but he burned those letters at the same time he burned Anja’s diaries. He tried to put all memories of the war out of his mind, Vladek... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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...help installing storm windows. Artie promises to help, but asks Vladek to tell him about Anja first. He wants to know what happened to Anja while Vladek was in Dachau. Anja... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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...Sweden in 1946, after the war had ended. There was nothing left for him and Anja in Poland, but the Americans had imposed quotas for refugees, and it was impossible to... (full context)
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...stock, the owner hires him. Eventually, Vladek becomes a partner in the business. He and Anja are well off in Sweden, and he is sorry to leave when their American visas... (full context)
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...able to find any of his own family. Vladek has been searching for news of Anja, but assumes she has died – she was so thin and weak in Auschwitz, he... (full context)
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Vladek asks whether the women have heard any news of Anja. He is amazed to learn that she is alive and living in Sosnowiec. The Poles... (full context)
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As soon as he learns Anja is alive, Vladek sends her a letter promising to return home immediately. In this letter,... (full context)
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Vladek trades his belongings to buy gifts for Anja: dresses and a fur coat. Shivek decides to return to Poland with him, but they... (full context)
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...with a Star of David. Beneath it, side by side, are the names “Vladek” and “Anja,” along with the dates of their respective births and deaths. An eternal flame – a... (full context)