Maus

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 man, Vladek possesses a shrewd intellect and terrific interpersonal skills, which help him navigate perilous situations throughout the war. Though age does not compromise his intelligence, Vladek becomes neurotic, stubborn, and miserly during his later years — characteristics that those around him, especially Artie, find hard to bear. Though Mala insists these traits are flaws in Vladek’s character, rather than unfortunate relics of his war experience, Pavel — Artie’s therapist — believes that they are expressions of the guilt and sadness Vladek feels about surviving the Holocaust. For all his shortcomings, Vladek is a loving father to Artie, whom he adores despite all their bickering, and a devoted husband to Anja, whom he misses terribly after her suicide and claims to think about constantly.

Vladek Spiegelman Quotes in Maus

The Maus quotes below are all either spoken by Vladek Spiegelman or refer to Vladek 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 1 Quotes

Vladek: But this what I just told you — about Lucia and so — I don’t want you should write about this in your book … It has nothing to do with Hitler, with the Holocaust!

Artie: But Pop — it’s great material. It makes everything more real — more human. I want to tell your story, the way it really happened.

Vladek: But this isn’t so proper, so respectful … I can tell you other stories, but such private things I don’t want you should mention.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Lucia Greenberg
Page Number: I.23
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

I’m not going to die, and I won’t die here! I want to be treated like a human being!

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker)
Page Number: I.54
Explanation and Analysis:

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Vladek: Always I went to sleep exhausted. And one night I had a dream … A voice was talking to me. It was, I think, my dead grandfather. It was so real, this voice.

Grandfather: Don’t worry … Don’t worry, my child … You will come out of this place — free! — on the day of Parshas Truma.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker)
Page Number: I.57
Explanation and Analysis:

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This is for me a very important date. I checked later on a calendar. It was this parsha on the week I got married to Anja … And this was the parsha in 1948, after the war, on the week you were born. And so it came out to be this parsha you sang on the Saturday of your bar mitzvah!

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman (speaker)
Page Number: I.59
Explanation and Analysis:

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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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Cohn had a dry goods store. He was known all over Sosnowiec. Often he gave me cloth with no coupons. I traded also with Pfefer, a fine young man — a Zionist. He was just married. His wife ran screaming in the street … Ach. When I think now of them, it still makes me cry.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Nahum Cohn, Pfefer Cohn
Page Number: I.83-84
Explanation and Analysis:

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Vladek: I couldn’t see anywhere my father. But later someone who saw him told me … He came through this same cousin over to the good side. Then came Fela to register. Her, they sent to the left. Four children was too many.

Mr. Spiegelman: Fela! My daughter! How can she manage alone — with four children to take care of?

Vladek: And, what do you think? He sneaked on to the bad side. And those on the bad side never came anymore home.

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Mrs. Spiegelman (speaker), Mordecai, Fela
Page Number: I.91
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

He wants me to go help him fix his roof or something. Shit! Even as a kid I hated helping him around the house. He loved showing off how handy he was … and proving that anything I did was all wrong. He made me completely neurotic about fixing stuff. I mean, I didn’t even own a hammer until we moved into this place! One reason I became an artist was that he thought it was impractical — just a waste of time … it was an area where I wouldn’t have to compete with him.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly
Page Number: I.97
Explanation and Analysis:

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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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Artie: Wouldn’t they have helped you even if you couldn’t pay? I mean, you were from the same family.

Vladek: Hah! You don’t understand … At that time, it wasn’t anymore families. It was everybody to take care for himself!

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Jakov Spiegelman, Haskel Spiegelman
Page Number: I.114
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

Mala: Pragmatic? Cheap!! It causes him physical pain to part with even a nickel!

Artie: Uh-huh. I used to think the war made him that way.

Mala: Fah! I went through the camps … All our friends went through the camps. Nobody is like him!

Artie: Mm … It’s something that worries me about the book I’m doing about him … In some ways he’s just like the racist caricature of the miserly old Jew.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Mala Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman
Page Number: I.131
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim

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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

Priest [to Vladek]: Your number starts with 17. In Hebrew that’s “k’minyan tov.” A very Seventeen is a very good omen … It ends with 13, the age a Jewish boy becomes a man … And look! Added together it total 18. That’s “chai,” the Hebrew number of life. I can’t know if I’ll survive this hell, but I’m certain you’ll come through all this alive.

Vladek [to Artie]: I started to Believe. I tell you, he put another life in me. And whenever it was very bad I looked and said: “Yes. The priest was right! It totals eighteen.”

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), The Priest (speaker), Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman
Page Number: II.28
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

Vladek died of congestive heart failure on August 18, 1982 … Françoise and I stayed with him in the Catskills back in August 1979. Vladek started working as a tinman in Auschwitz in the spring of 1944 … I started working on this page at the very end of February 1987. In May 1987 Françoise and I are expecting a baby … Between May 16, 1944 and May 24, 1944, over 100,000 Hungarian Jews were gassed in Auschwitz.

Related Characters: Arthur (Artie) Spiegelman (speaker), Vladek Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly, Nadja Mouly Spiegelman
Page Number: II.41
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

Vladek: What happened on you, Françoise? You went crazy, or what?! I had the whole time to watch out that this shvartser doesn’t steal us the groceries from the back seat!

Françoise: What?! That’s outrageous! How can you, of all people, be such a racist! You talk about blacks the way the Nazis talked about Jews!

Vladek: Ach! I thought really you are more smart than this, Françoise … It’s not even to compare, the shvartsers and the Jews!

Related Characters: Vladek Spiegelman (speaker), Françoise Mouly (speaker)
Page Number: II.99
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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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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Vladek Spiegelman Character Timeline in Maus

The timeline below shows where the character Vladek Spiegelman appears in Maus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Sniffling, Artie returns home. In the front yard of his family’s house, his father, Vladek Spiegelman, works at a wood bench. Vladek also has the head of a mouse, and... (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
When Artie explains that his friends skated on without him after he fell, Vladek stops sawing and looks, somewhat incredulously, at his son. Artie should lock his “friends” together... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 1
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...very close. He confesses that it has been “a long time” since he last saw Vladek, and notices that Vladek has aged during that time. “My mother’s suicide and his two... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
After dinner, Vladek leads Artie into a bedroom, so he can pedal on a stationary bicycle while they... (full context)
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... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Vladek tells Artie he had no particular interest in Lucia, but that she insisted on their... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
The next panel shows Vladek disembarking from a train, while a woman on the platform – his cousin – waves... (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,... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Anja and Vladek make plans to talk on the telephone after he returns to Czestochowa. Vladek tells Artie... (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... (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... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Vladek pauses in his cycling. He tells Artie he does not want these stories included in... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...his father regularly to hear more of his stories. He arrives one day to find Vladek counting pills; Vladek reveals that he takes 25 or 30 vitamins every day, as well... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...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 friend from Warsaw who... (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
Around the same time as Miss Stefanska’s arrest, Vladek’s father-in-law offers to give Vladek money to open a textile factory. He moves to Bielsko... (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 premature. Vladek... (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... (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... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...Anja is significantly healthier and happier. However, they are greeted by the unhappy news that Vladek’s textile factory has been robbed. Artie asks whether this robbery was motivated by anti-Semitism. Vladek... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek arrives home from work one day with the troubling news that there has been “another... (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... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
In August 1939, Vladek is drafted into the Polish army. This confirms that the war everyone has dreaded for... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Artie is still visiting Vladek often, trying to collect as much information as possible about Vladek’s past. Eating dinner at... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Vladek explains that, because he was part of Poland’s reserve forces before the war, he had... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Artie urges Vladek to focus on 1939. Vladek tells him about fighting in the trenches near the German... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Vladek, along with other prisoners of war, is made to load the bodies of the dead... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
One of the Nazi soldiers orders Vladek, along with a few other men, to have one of the filthy stables cleaned within... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
After a few weeks working for the Nazis, Vladek and the other prisoners are taken to a bigger camp. Jewish prisoners are made to... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Several weeks after he enters the camp, Vladek learns that the German government is seeking prisoners of war to volunteer as laborers in... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek and the other volunteers are sent to work for a large German company. Their work,... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Artie asks what Parshas Truma is. Vladek explains: each Saturday of the year, Jews read a section of the Torah, their holy... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Following his dream, Vladek asks one of the other prisoners, a rabbi, when they will read Parshas Truma. The... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
To Vladek’s dismay, the train designated to take him home passes through Sosnowiec without stopping. As the... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek is finally shepherded off the train in a town called Lublin, where he learns from... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
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Another man tells Vladek that it may be possible to get him out of the camp, if someone in... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek cannot legally cross into the Reich without paperwork, which he does not have. Regardless, he... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Back in Sosnowiec, Vladek goes immediately to his parents’ house. They are elated to see him, but it is... (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,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
The next time Artie visits Vladek, Vladek berates him for being late. He wanted Artie to climb to the roof and... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Vladek has returned to Sosnowiec to find that life in his father-in-law’s house is very much... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
After their first dinner with the now-reunited family, Mr. Zylberberg tells Vladek that all Jewish-owned businesses have been confiscated by the Germans. His hosiery factory and Vladek’s... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Shortly after he returns home, Vladek goes out into the city, determined to find a way to earn some money for... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Some time later, Vladek is out on Modrzejowska Street – the area of Sosnowiec where people go to do... (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
Over the course of the next year, Vladek says, life in Sosnowiec became steadily worse for Jews. One afternoon, walking past the train... (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... (full context)
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Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
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Vladek slowly stops pedaling his stationary bicycle. A defeated look passes over his face. Mr. Ilzecki... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Grudgingly, Vladek resumes his story in 1941, as the situation in Sosnowiec was escalating. At the end... (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 continues trading goods on the black market for a few months after moving to Stara... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...was doing during this time. She spent a lot of time writing in her diaries, Vladek tells him. Artie remembers seeing Polish notebooks in the house when he was young, and... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
As Artie grudgingly stamps out his cigarette, Vladek resumes his story. After the hanging, he looks for less dangerous work. Gold and jewelry... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...others in their community. Though they believed Mr. and Mrs. Karmio were going to Czechoslovakia, Vladek says, they later found out that they were sent to Auschwitz, where they were killed... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...and most feel that they have no choice but to present themselves at the stadium. Vladek’s father tells Vladek that their cousin Mordecai will be working at one of the tables,... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
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Vladek, Anja, and Richieu are sent to the right – the good side of the stadium,... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Vladek sags on his stationary bike. He puts his head in his hands, and tells Artie... (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... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...parents both died in Auschwitz eventually –he gets up from the table and hurries into Vladek’s den. Mala, confused, follows him. He tells her that he remembers seeing Anja’s diaries on... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
...wife, Françoise, when the telephone rings. Mala is on the other line, yelling in frustration. Vladek climbed onto the roof to fix the leaky drainpipe, she says, and she had to... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
As he makes their coffee, Artie tells Françoise he has always hated helping Vladek around the house – he was overbearing and critical of everything Artie did. Françoise asks... (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
About a week later, Artie arrives at Vladek’s house to find him sorting nails in the garage. Vladek refuses to make eye contact... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
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...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 her wrists slashed and a bottle of... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...she remembers the days after Anja’s death, and agrees with Artie’s descriptions of that time. Vladek comes inside, and Artie brings up the comic, holding it out for Vladek to see.... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Artie apologizes for upsetting him, but Vladek says it was good for Artie to express his feelings. The comic brought up painful... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek and Artie go for a walk. Vladek resumes his story in 1943, when all the... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
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Vladek remembers the horrible violence that came to Srodula in the months after Persis took the... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
...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 of all the tragedies... (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... (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 has two cousins working for the Germans: Jakov, who does manual labor, and Haskel, who... (full context)
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Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Jakov brings Haskel to the detention center. Vladek bribes Haskel with a diamond ring. Haskel says he can get Vladek, Anja, and Lolek... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Vladek pauses in his story to pick up a piece of wire from the ground near... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
As he tells his part of the story, Vladek’s heart begins to cause him severe pain. He carries a nitroglycerin pill in his pocket,... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Vladek and Artie resume walking. Vladek describes the last months of 1943: the Germans are clearing... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...nieces –and with the loss of Lolek, her family is broken apart completely. Anja tells Vladek she wants to die, but Vladek begs her to keep struggling for life. He needs... (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 everyone is... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
Vladek and Artie have walked to the local bank. Vladek asks the teller – an American... (full context)
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
Mala would be furious if Artie inherited the diamond ring, Vladek says – she is constantly badgering him to change his will and leave everything to... (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
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When Artie arrives at the house for his next visit with Vladek, he finds Mala crying at the kitchen table. Vladek has been making her miserable again;... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
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Vladek comes in from watering the garden. Artie, changing the subject quickly, tells Vladek that he... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
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Artie asks Vladek to resume his story in 1944, when he and Anja left Srodula. Vladek talks: The... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...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. Lukowski, the... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
That day, Vladek goes into the city. He wants to get a feel for conditions, though Anja is... (full context)
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
Vladek returns to Dekerta Street, where he learns of a farmer named Mrs. Kawka who, some... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Death, Chance, and Human Interdependence Theme Icon
...is a good woman, though she is exacting when it comes to her payments – Vladek pays her both for sheltering them and for bringing them food from her black market... (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
...to go, 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... (full context)
The Holocaust and the Responsibility of its Survivors Theme Icon
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
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Artie stops Vladek, and asks whether Hungary wasn’t just as dangerous as Poland. For a long time, Vladek... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Mrs. Motonowa allows them back into the house after her husband returns to Germany, but Vladek has begun to feel that they are not safe with her. He wants to get... (full context)
Family, Identity, and Jewishness Theme Icon
Guilt, Anger, and Redemption Theme Icon
...with Mrs. Motonowa, she says, sobbing in terror –leaving is too dangerous. Mrs. Motonowa begs Vladek to reconsider as well, but he refuses to budge. He tells Anja that he wants... (full context)
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Vladek goes to visit his cousin, Miloch. He has never seen Miloch’s hiding place, but hopes... (full context)
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...says he is safe and happy in Hungary, and urges them to follow him soon. Vladek and Mandelbaum make arrangements to leave in two days’ time. Anja is terrified – she... (full context)
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Two days later, Vladek and Anja board a train, along with Mandelbaum, his wife, and the smugglers. They are... (full context)
Grief, Memory, and Love Theme Icon
...wives and thrown into a cell with a few others. They spend several days there. Vladek helps a Polish man write letters to his family –prisoners are only permitted to write... (full context)
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The truck takes Vladek, Anja, and the Mandelbaums to Auschwitz. It is now 1944, and every Jew in Poland... (full context)
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Artie asks Vladek to come inside with him and search for Anja’s diaries. Vladek hesitates, then confesses to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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...she reminds him, she converted to Judaism when they got married, if only to please Vladek. (full context)
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Artie and Françoise’s friends run out of the house in a panic. Vladek just called, one of them tells Artie –he had a heart attack, and needs Artie... (full context)
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...wonders aloud 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... (full context)
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It is late when Artie and Françoise arrive at Vladek’s bungalow in the Catskills. Vladek has been waiting up for them. He embraces Artie, and... (full context)
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The next morning, a little before 8 a.m., Vladek bursts into the bedroom where Françoise and Artie are sleeping. He opens the curtains and... (full context)
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Françoise appears in the kitchen, yawning. Artie lights a cigarette, and Vladek berates him for using a wood match. He gets free paper matches from a nearby... (full context)
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...Mrs. Karp’s house as quickly as he can. Outside, Françoise tells him that being around Vladek makes her tense; he follows her around, straightening things as soon as she touches them.... (full context)
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Vladek appears in the yard outside the bungalow, and asks Artie to come inside and help... (full context)
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As they walk, Artie asks Vladek what he plans to do now that Mala is gone. Vladek says he will go... (full context)
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Artie has brought his tape recorder on the walk, and asks Vladek whether they can talk about Auschwitz. He asks what happened after Vladek and Anja were... (full context)
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As they enter the camp, Vladek and Mandelbaum see Abraham, Mandelbaum’s nephew who wrote to say he was safe in Hungary.... (full context)
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Throughout Vladek’s first day in Auschwitz, he hears the same thing again and again: that the only... (full context)
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Vladek struggles in the camp, but things are even more difficult for Mandelbaum. His clothes are... (full context)
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Vladek and Mandelbaum live in an overcrowded barrack under the supervision of a kapo: a prisoner... (full context)
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The next day, while other prisoners are made to clean the barrack, the kapo takes Vladek into a private room for an English lesson. In the room is a lavish spread... (full context)
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Vladek tries to use his influence with the kapo to keep Mandelbaum safe. Eventually, though, the... (full context)
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Vladek remains under the kapo’s protection for more than two months, with better living conditions than... (full context)
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Vladek and Artie come to a hotel called The Pines. There is a “No Trespassing” sign,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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...place. He turns to face the audience and begins to list a series of dates: Vladek died of congestive heart failure in August 1982. He visited him in the Catskills in... (full context)
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...finds it hard to believe that he is going to be a father soon. Though Vladek has been dead for years, he still struggles to make sense of their relationship. Artie... (full context)
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...to be paralyzing, and that none of his professional accomplishments seem very impressive compared to Vladek’s survival story. Pavel suggests that Vladek may have felt guilty about surviving the camps, and... (full context)
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Pavel asks whether Artie admires Vladek for surviving. Artie admits that he does – though Vladek was luckier than most people,... (full context)
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...not even know what it looked like. He has no idea what kinds of tools Vladek might have used in the camp tin shop – no documents exist to say. Pavel... (full context)
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Back at his drawing table, Artie turns on the tape of his interview with Vladek. The tape begins with the two of them bickering – Vladek wants to talk about... (full context)
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...the tin shop is a Russian Jew named Yidl. Yidl is a Communist, and hates Vladek immediately because he has heard Vladek owned a factory before the war. Because Vladek never... (full context)
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...a mouse, then a cat. Nobody could say whether this man was really a German, Vladek tells Artie – regardless of his nationality, though, the Germans considered him a Jew and... (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 from... (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... (full context)
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...occasionally ask Yidl to send 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... (full context)
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...he returns to work. The ones who look ill are sent to the gas chambers. Vladek remembers one young man, a Belgian named Felix, who presented himself for a selektion and... (full context)
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Next door to the tin shop where Vladek works is a shoe shop where guards take their boots for repair. One day, Vladek... (full context)
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Vladek knows the basics of repairing shoes, but when a Nazi guard brings in a badly... (full context)
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One day, in conversation with the kapo, Vladek learns that the Germans are building new barracks and plan to move some women to... (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 that separates... (full context)
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As Artie and Vladek return home, Artie tries to sketch a timeline of Vladek’s imprisonment. Vladek says he spent... (full context)
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As the Russian army was closing in on Auschwitz, Vladek says, tinsmiths were sent to disassemble the gas chambers and crematoriums. The Germans planned to... (full context)
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That night, after Vladek is asleep, Artie and Françoise sit on the porch and talk. Staying with Vladek has... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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The next morning, Vladek announces plans for a trip to the supermarket, to return foods Mala left behind and... (full context)
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Driving to the supermarket later, Artie tells Vladek he has been reading about a group of prisoners in Auschwitz who revolted against the... (full context)
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Vladek remembers the evacuation of Auschwitz, a few weeks after the bombing of the crematorium. A... (full context)
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...to Gross-Rosen, a camp within the German border. The camp is chaotic and overcrowded, but Vladek stays there only briefly. Within a day or two of his arrival, he is loaded... (full context)
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After a week, the Nazis open Vladek’s car and allow the passengers to throw out the bodies of the dead. Very few... (full context)
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Vladek, Artie, and Françoise arrive at the supermarket. Vladek intends to return the half-empty boxes of... (full context)
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As they drive back to the bungalow, Vladek tells Artie and Françoise about Dachau – a place he describes as being much more... (full context)
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In Dachau, Vladek meets a French man. (He has the head of a frog.) There are few French... (full context)
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After a few weeks in Dachau, Vladek contracts typhus. Many other prisoners have died of this disease; each night, when he walks... (full context)
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Artie asks what happened to the French man after Vladek left Dachau. Vladek says the French man – he can no longer remember his name... (full context)
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...give the man a ride. He thanks her politely as he climbs into the car. Vladek is horrified to find himself sitting in the same car as a “shvartser” (a black... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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A few months later, back in the house in Rego Park, Vladek is despondent. He cannot live by himself, he tells Artie – he is too sick,... (full context)
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Vladek wants Artie’s help installing storm windows. Artie promises to help, but asks Vladek to tell... (full context)
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Vladek and the other prisoners on the train –the ones designated for exchange – never reached... (full context)
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...car anyway, eager to seize their freedom. They walk in all different directions, many (including Vladek) without a clear idea of where to go. It is not long before German soldiers... (full context)
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...go, insisting the officer would be punished if he allowed the prisoners to be killed. Vladek is free. (full context)
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Vladek and Shivek head out together, hoping to find food at a nearby farm. Soon, they... (full context)
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Exploring the farm, Vladek and Shivek find milk –which they immediately drink in excessive amounts – as well as... (full context)
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...plan to use the farm as part of their base camp, but agree to let Vladek and Shivek stay in the house as long as they help with cleaning and upkeep.... (full context)
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Vladek insists it is time to install the storm windows, but tells Artie he wants to... (full context)
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Artie asks Vladek about the Spiegelman side of the family – his own parents and siblings. Vladek names... (full context)
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As they talk, Vladek’s chest begins to pain him. He takes a nitroglycerin pill and lies down on the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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It is winter. Artie is listening to the recordings of his interviews with Vladek – to the part of the story when Tosha poisons herself, Richieu, and the other... (full context)
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...rings as soon as he turns on the tape player. It is Mala. She and Vladek have been living together in Florida, she tells him, and Vladek has been spending an... (full context)
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Artie arrives in Florida to find Vladek has exhausted himself with packing. While Vladek rests in bed, Artie asks Mala about their... (full context)
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The next morning, before catching their flight back to New York, Vladek and Artie sit outside Vladek’s Florida condo and watch planes leaving the nearby airport. Spotting... (full context)
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In Sweden, Vladek works as a manual laborer, as do most other refugees. Eager to make a better... (full context)
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After a long, problem-plagued flight from Florida, Vladek, Artie, and Mala arrive at the airport in New York. Françoise takes Mala home, while... (full context)
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About a month after returning from Florida, Artie goes to Queens to visit Vladek. Upon arriving, he learns from Mala that they are planning to sell the house and... (full context)
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Vladek is resting in bed. The photograph of Richieu hangs on the wall above the dresser.... (full context)
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At the end of the war, there are enormous numbers of refugees. Vladek and Shivek, who are still living with the American troops on the abandoned farm where... (full context)
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Vladek and Shivek leave the displaced persons camp to visit the German town of Hannover, where... (full context)
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Shivek’s sister-in-law recommends Vladek visit the displaced persons camp in Belsen, a nearby town. In the camp, Vladek meets... (full context)
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Vladek asks whether the women have heard any news of Anja. He is amazed to learn... (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, he includes a... (full context)
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Vladek trades his belongings to buy gifts for Anja: dresses and a fur coat. Shivek decides... (full context)
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Vladek is reclining in bed. He asks Artie to stop the tape recorder, and rolls over... (full context)
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...top, along 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... (full context)