Maus

Richieu Character Analysis

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 about him to Artie, Vladek and Anja kept Richieu’s photograph in their bedroom throughout Artie’s childhood.

Richieu Quotes in Maus

The Maus quotes below are all either spoken by Richieu or refer to Richieu. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Pantheon edition of Maus published in 1993.
Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

Ilzecki and his wife didn’t come out from the war. But his son remained alive; ours did not.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Richieu, Mr. Ilzecki
Page Number: I.81
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

When things came worse in our ghetto, we said always: “Thank God the kids are with Persis, safe.” That spring, on one day, the Germans took from Srodula to Auschwitz over 1,000 people. Most they took were kids — some only 2 or 3 years. Some kinds were screaming and screaming. They couldn’t stop. So the Germans swinged them by the legs against a wall … and they never anymore screamed. In this way the Germans treated the little ones what still had survived a little. This I didn’t see with my own eyes, but somebody the next day told me. And I said, “Thank God with Persis our children are safe!”

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Richieu, Bibi, Lonia, Persis
Page Number: I.108
Explanation and Analysis:

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Tosha: No! I won’t go to their gas chambers! And my children won’t go to their gas chambers! Bibi! Lonia! Richieu! Come here quickly!

Vladek: Always Tosha carried around her neck some poison … She killed not only herself, but also the 3 children. I’m telling you, it was a tragedy among tragedies. He was such a happy, beautiful boy!

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Richieu, Tosha, Bibi, Lonia
Page Number: I.109
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 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

So … Let’s stop, please, your tape recorder … I’m tired from talking, Richieu, and it’s enough stories for now.

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

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Richieu Character Timeline in Maus

The timeline below shows where the character Richieu appears in Maus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 2
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
...factory, visiting Anja on weekends. That October, 1937, Anja gives birth to a son named Richieu. At the mention of his first child, Vladek saddens. Richieu did not survive the war. (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...are only seven months between February, when Anja and Vladek were married, and October, when Richieu was born, Artie asks whether Richieu was premature. Vladek confirms that he was, then launches... (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... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...and they have a lovely home with a Polish governess, Janina, to help care for Richieu. (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...Anja she thinks of the Spiegelmans as part of her own family (she is cradling Richieu in her lap as she speaks). (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...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, and goes himself to the frontier... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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 simply to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...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 her sister,... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Vladek tells Artie that Mr. Ilzecki had a son about the same age as Richieu. One afternoon, while the two children play together, Ilzecki tells Vladek that he has plans... (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
...he says, and the little boy survived the war even after his parents were killed. Richieu was not so lucky. In the end, Vladek says, he and Anja had to send... (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 people who... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...he wants to bring Wolfe, Tosha, and the three small children – Bibi, Lonia, and Richieu – home with him, so he can protect them. Mrs. Zylberberg protests, saying the family... (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 what happened to Richieu after Persis took him to Zawiercie. Vladek explains: a few months after the family separated,... (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 of Anja’s sister, brother-in-law, and nieces –and with the loss... (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
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Artie wonders aloud whether he and Richieu would get along, if Richieu had survived the war. Vladek and Anja always kept a... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...his interviews with Vladek – to the part of the story when Tosha poisons herself, Richieu, and the other children –when Françoise comes in to offer him a cup of coffee.... (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
Vladek is resting in bed. The photograph of Richieu hangs on the wall above the dresser. Artie comes into the room and sits beside... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...over onto his side as though preparing to go to sleep. “I’m tired from talking, Richieu,” he says, “and it’s enough stories for now.” (full context)