Maus

Tosha Character Analysis

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 evacuate the ghetto Zawiercie, she poisons herself and the three children in her care (Bibi, Lonia, and Richieu, who Vladek and Anja thought would be sager with Tosha), rather than allowing the Nazis to send them all to Auschwitz.

Tosha Quotes in Maus

The Maus quotes below are all either spoken by Tosha or refer to Tosha. 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

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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Tosha Character Timeline in Maus

The timeline below shows where the character Tosha appears in Maus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 4
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...are living in the house with Anja’s parents and grandparents, as well as her sister, Tosha; Tosha’s husband, Wolfe; their daughter, Bibi; and Anja’s niece and nephew, Lonia and Lolek, whose... (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
...Richieu away to hide anyway. He begins to tell the story – how, in 1943, Tosha took all the children into hiding – but Artie stops him. Vladek needs to tell... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...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 time, the... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...gives him some influence with the Germans in Zawiercie, and he wants to bring Wolfe, Tosha, and the three small children – Bibi, Lonia, and Richieu – home with him, so... (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
...of the Jewish Council, then ordered all Jews to present themselves for transport to Auschwitz. Tosha refused to allow herself – or her children – to die in the gas chambers.... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
It was a long time before the family learned what had happened to Tosha and the children, Vladek says – but when they found out, it was the greatest... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...the recordings of 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... (full context)