Florian’s chapter begins with a variation of the same phrase that begins the other of the first four chapters: “Fate is a hunter.”
Although he doesn’t specifically reveal the details of his curse until later in the novel, Florian believes that he is doomed, and that only bad things will happen to him and those associated with him.
Florian hears the German helicopters above him. Although he is in pain from a shrapnel injury in his side, he wills himself to continue forward. He remembers his mother telling him he’s talented, and his father reminding him “You are Prussian. Make your own decisions, son.” He wonders if his parents would approve of him now that he carries a secret with him.
Although Prussia was part of the German Empire, and later part of Nazi Germany, ethnic Prussians felt themselves to be culturally separate from Germany, and did not unilaterally support the Nazi regime. Florian speaks German and looks German, but feels his identity is distinctly separate.
Florian knows that if he is captured by the Soviets he will be killed and tortured. He knows the Nazis, if they uncover his secret, will also kill him. This fear motivates him to continue on. He finds a potato cellar in the woods and jumps inside. This chapter, like the other four, ends with the “Bang” of a gunshot.
Caught between two regimes, Florian’s life is in danger. He has no true allies to whom he can turn for comfort, and instead must rely upon his memories of his family for strength.