Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

by

Ruta Sepetys

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Salt to the Sea can help.

Emilia Stozek Character Analysis

One of the four principal characters and narrators. From the first chapter Sepetys notes that Emilia’s driving emotion is shame. Emilia is Polish, but has spent the past several years in the German village of Nemmersdorf with the Kleist family. Her mother, Halina, died during the birth of Emilia’s younger brother, and Emilia’s father was killed by Nazis during her time in Nemmersdorf. Emilia has experienced tremendous trauma during the war—including separation from her family and rape at the hands of the invading Soviet army, resulting in pregnancy. She deals with this trauma by retreating into a fantasy she has constructed in her mind. From the moment she meets him she includes Florian in this fantasy, imagining him as a knight from Polish folklore, sent down from the mountains to protect her. Emilia believes she is marked for death, and although she has a strong spirit, she struggles to imagine that a brighter future is possible. Emilia’s mother died in childbirth, and (in part because of the symbolic sinking of her childhood wreath) she expects to do so as well. However, she eventually gives birth to a healthy baby whom she names Halinka, after her mother. At first, Emilia has difficulty accepting responsibility for her baby, as she did not expect to survive to be a mother, and still has residual shame around her rape and pregnancy. It is only when Florian meets Halinka and tells Emilia that her daughter “is Poland,” that Emilia sees that Halinka is a member of her family, and a vessel for her memories of Poland and her family. Emilia dies at sea after the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. She makes sure Halinka is safe, but is unable to board the same lifeboat. Instead, she and Alfred board a raft together, where she eventually freezes to death. Her body is found shortly after by a woman named Clare, who gives Emilia a proper burial.

Emilia Stozek Quotes in Salt to the Sea

The Salt to the Sea quotes below are all either spoken by Emilia Stozek or refer to Emilia Stozek. 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:
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Salt to the Sea published in 2016.
6. Emilia Quotes

“Are you okay?” I asked, barely recognizing my own voice. His face twisted at the sound of my words.
He was German.
I was Polish.
He would want nothing to do with me. Adolf Hitler had declared that Polish people were subhuman. We were to be destroyed so the Germans could have the land they needed for their empire. Hitler said Germans were superior and would not live among Poles. We were not Germanizable. But our soil was.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Florian Beck, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
9. Emilia Quotes

He wanted to leave me. His race was his own.

Who was this German boy, old enough to be in the Wehrmacht, yet dressed in civilian clothes? For me he was a conqueror, a sleeping knight, like in the stories Mama used to tell. Polish legend told of a king and his brave knights who lay asleep within the mountain caverns. If Poland was in distress, the knights would awaken and come to the rescue.
I told myself that the handsome young man was a sleeping knight. He moved forward, his pistol at the ready. He was leaving.
Why did everyone leave me?

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Florian Beck
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
14. Joana Quotes

My heart ached for the girl. What had she seen? And deep down I knew the truth. Hitler was pushing out Polish girls like Emilia to make room for “Baltic Germans,” people with German heritage. Like me. My father was Lithuanian but my mother’s family had German roots. That’s why we were able to flee from Stalin into the barbed arms of Hitler.
“You know, I think it could be worse,” said Eva.
“What do you mean?”

“My husband told me that Hitler suspected the Polish intellectuals of anti-Nazi activity. The senior professors in Lwów, they were all executed. So the girl’s father, sorry, but he was probably strangled with piano wire and—”

“Stop, Eva.”
“We can’t bring the girl with us. Her coat is splattered with blood. She’s clearly in trouble. And she’s Polish.”
“And I’m Lithuanian. Are you going to toss me out too?” I was sick of it. Sick of hearing the phrase German Only. Could we really turn our backs on innocent homeless children? They were victims, not soldiers. But I knew others felt differently. I looked over at the girl in the corner, tears streaking her filthy face. She was fifteen and alone. The tears reminded me of someone. The memory opened a small door In my mind and the dark voice slipped through it.

It’s all your fault.

Related Characters: Joana Vilkas (speaker), Eva (speaker), Emilia Stozek, Adolf Hitler
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
25. Emilia Quotes

I looked at the trees and thought of the big stork’s nest I had seen on top of the barn. It made me think of Mama. I thought of the warm sunny days when she would take me to pick mushrooms in the forest. In the forest near Lwów was a beautiful old oak tree with a hollow large enough to sit in. We’d take our baskets to the tree and I’d scramble into the cavity. Mama would sit with her back against the trunk, legs crossed at the ankles beneath her skirt.
“You love stories, Emilia. Well, the trees hold hundreds of years of stories,” she’d tell me, touching the bark. “Think of it, everything these trees have seen and felt. All of the secrets are inside of them.”
“Do you think they remember each and every stork?” I’d ask from inside the cool hollow.
“Of course the trees remember. Like I said, they remember everything.”
Just as the trees were Mama’s favorite, storks were mine. I had them six months of the year. At the end of each summer the storks would leave and fly to Africa, where they’d live in warmth along the Nile for the winter. In March they would return to Poland to the nests they had left. To invite a stork to nest, families would nail a wagon wheel to the top of a tall pole. We had one in our yard. Every March we would celebrate when our stork returned to the nest. As August faded, the departure of the storks symbolized summer’s end.
Six years ago, the day our stork left, Mama left too. She died giving birth to what would have been my younger brother.

My throat tightened. I swallowed, reminding myself she wasn’t really gone. I felt Mama among the trees. I could feel her touch and hear her laughter in the leaves. So I talked to the trees as I walked, hoping their braches would carry messages up to Mama and let her know what I had done, and most of all, that I would try to be brave.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Florian Beck
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
29. Emilia Quotes

The Nazis claimed I didn’t need an education. Polish schools were closed. Our desks and equipment were taken to Germany. Would a German girl open my desk and find my treasures inside?
The Nazis said the people of Poland would become serfs to the Germans. They thought we only needed to count and write our name. My father was part of the Lwów School of Mathematics. He would never agree with children not being taught reading, writing, and arithmetic. They had burned our books in the Polish language. But I had learned to read very young. They could never take that away from me.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker)
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
44. Joana Quotes

We trudged on in silence. I stared down at the icy road.
His breath was suddenly close. “The girl. She doesn’t have papers.”
Papers.
He was right. Emilia had no identity card. I had forgotten that. Germany required all civilians to legally register and carry documentation that contained our name, photograph, nationality, race, birth, and family details. The regime then assigned identifiers on he cover of the cards. My identity card said Resettler, indicating that Germany had allowed me to repatriate from Lithuania. We were required to show our identification to any official or soldier who requested it. Our papers determined our fate.
I looked up at her, balanced in the bundles. She smiled and gave me a small wave.
Emilia had no papers.
No papers, no future.

Related Characters: Joana Vilkas (speaker), Florian Beck, Emilia Stozek
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
60. Florian Quotes

It could have been so easy. I could have walked across the ice myself, without the burden of the group. They could have tried to save the blind girl. Maybe they all would have drowned in the process. That would have been so much easier.
And so much harder.
Bitte.”
The word was s quiet, I wasn’t even sure I had heard it. I liked down at the Polish girl. She wore red lipstick. Her blonde hair was released from the captivity of her braids. She pulled her pink hat down over her eyes. “Bitte,” she whispered again. “Please.”

Related Characters: Florian Beck (speaker), Joana Vilkas, Emilia Stozek, Ingrid
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
62. Emilia Quotes

Father constantly worried about me. He cried when he told me that he was sending me away to the Kleists’ farm in East Prussia for safety. I wanted to cry too. I wanted to scream and refuse. But it hurt so much to see him sad, losing all that he loved. So I assured him that he was right, it was for the best, and that I was not upset. I told him that we would see each other in a couple of year, when the war of winter turned to spring.

I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.

Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
66. Emilia Quotes

Joana still had her mother. Reuniting with her mother was her motivation. She would slay dragons to get to her. Mother was anchor. Mother was comfort. Mother was home. A girl who lost her mother was suddenly a tiny boat on an angry ocean. Some boats eventually floated ashore. And some boats, like me, seemed to float farther and farther form land.
I forced my mind toward happy thoughts—August, warmth, storks, home—anything to distract myself from the swelling pressure inside me. I walked with the others in search of the movie house. With each step, the truth drew closer.
I could not make it much longer.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Joana Vilkas
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:
73. Joana Quotes

“Why are you so nervous?” said Eva. “You know you’re getting on a boat. You told me you’ve got a letter.”
“Shh.” I looked behind me to see if anyone was near. “I don’t want the others to know.”
“Why the secrecy?” whispered Eva.

“I don’t want them to think I’ll have preferential treatment or opportunity.”
“It’s a letter from the doctor in Insterburg saying you’re good at dealing with blood and guts, Joana. I’m sorry, but I don’t call that an opportunity,” she said.

“The whole thing’s unfair, Eva. You know that. Hitler allowed me into Germany. He thinks some Baltic people are ‘Germanizable.’ But for every person like me that Hitler brought in, he pushed some poor soul, like Emilia, out.”

“Do you think you have time to be moral?” snapped Eva. “The Russians are right around the corner. If you wait, they’ll be under your skirt and you’ll be dead. Sorry, but don’t waste your time with some goodwill gesture for a lost Polish kid. Get in line and get on a boat. It’s been nice to trek with everyone, but now we’re here. I don’t need a group. I need my belongings and I need a ship.”

Related Characters: Joana Vilkas (speaker), Emilia Stozek
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
103. Emilia Quotes

Everything hurt. My strength dissolved into exhaustion.

Wasn’t a person supposed to feel better after telling the truth? Perhaps there was no peace because Joana hadn’t understood or hadn’t heard me. Was it enough to admit the lie to yourself and the heavens, or did you have to tell someone who listened?
For months I had done so well. Most days I actually believed my own story. Yes, August Kleist existed. He visited the farm for a while during my stay. He carried wood for me, climbed the ladder so I didn’t have to, shared his plums, and defended me in front of his mother. He did it all because he was a kind person. But I didn’t exist for him the way he existed for me. He left before it happened.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Joana Vilkas, Eva, August Kleist, Erna Kleist
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
112. Emilia Quotes

[Florian] looked from the baby to me and then back to the baby.
“Hmm. Your eyes. Your nose. Pretty,” he said. He put his lips against the top of the baby’s head and closed his eyes. He looked beautiful. Joana stared at the knight. She thought he was beautiful too.

He opened his eyes and whispered to me. “Kind of incredible. She is you, she is your mother, your father, your country.” He kissed her head and leaned down to whisper in my ear.
“She is Poland.”
My arms lifted and reached for the child.

Related Characters: Florian Beck (speaker), Emilia Stozek (speaker), Halinka
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:
116. Emilia Quotes

She should know Poland. Looking at the child, I suddenly became hungry for my country, for its fat bees carrying nectar from apple flowers and for the birds singing in clusters of hazel.

How would she know the truths from the untruths? Would she believe that Poles, Jews, Ukrainians, Armenians, and Hungarians had all coexisted peacefully in Lwów before the war? That I often made tea and doughnuts with Rachel and Helen in our kitchen?
Food. I wanted her to know our food. How my hands missed the feel of dough dusted with flour. My ears missed the snap of apple pancakes in the pan and my yes missed the rainbow of fruits and vegetables sealed in jars on the shelves. War had bled color from everything, leaving nothing but a storm of gray.
I wanted her to know not only Poland, but my Poland.
I pulled her close and whispered in Polish: “There were no ghettos, no armbands. I often fell asleep to a breeze floating through my open window. It’s true. It was like that once.”

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Florian Beck, Halinka
Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:
131. Emilia Quotes

I hadn’t planned for this. I was certain the birthing would kill both of us, just as it had Mama. Yet somehow, after five cruel winters of war, I was still alive. I adjusted the baby in my arms. What was happening? Could I have been wrong about the sign?

I had received the sign six years ago. It was Saint John’s Night, the longest day of the year. Mama loved Saint John’s celebration—a night of bonfires, singing, and dancing. The tradition called for girls to make wreaths of flowers and candles. At dark, they would light the candles and send their wreaths floating down the river. Legend said that the boy who retrieved your wreath downstream was the boy you would marry. The year Mama died, the older girls let me make a wreath of flowers and candles with them. I chose all of Mama’s favorites—hibiscus, roses, poppies, and dried herbs.

After setting the wreaths to the water, the girls danced around the bonfire. I decided to follow my pretty wreath. I padded barefoot in the grass along the river, watching the flowers and candles turning slowly in the water. I walked quite far. My wreath suddenly bounced, catching on something beneath the surface. I stopped in the center of the river. One of the candles tipped onto the flowers. The herbs caught on fire.
I sat in the grass and watched my wreath burn and sink, quietly sealing my fate.

I had expected everything to end, But now, I began to think that maybe the sign had been wrong. I had fought so hard to overcome so much. Something changed when the knight arrived. Maybe he truly saved me, had pulled my burning wreath form the water. After all, in Poland, Saint Florian was fighter of fire.

For the first time in years, people cared for me. Protected me.

Related Characters: Emilia Stozek (speaker), Florian Beck, Halinka
Related Symbols: Emilia’s Wreath
Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:
166. Joana Quotes

“One more.”
That’s what the sailor had said.

Most would have fought to be “the one.” They would have insisted they ought to be “the one.” But Emilia had pushed the wandering boy into the boat, sacrificing herself for another. Where was she now? Had she gotten into a boat? I thought of frightened yet brave Emilia, and I started to cry.

I wanted my mother. My mother loved Lithuania. She loved her family. The war had torn every last love from her life. Would she have to learn the grotesque details of our suffering? Would news make it to my hometown of Biržai, to the dark bunker in the woods where my brother and father were thought to be hiding?
Joana Vilkas, your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea.

Page Number: 357
Explanation and Analysis:
174. Florian Quotes

So, dear one, I have grown old now and my Niels is gone. Receiving your kind letter brought such peace to my heart, knowing that you, Joana, Klaus, and Halinka are together in America along with a child of your own. I do understand how you have struggled for this new life. The sinking of the Gusloff is the largest maritime disaster, yet the world still knows nothing of it. I often wonder, will that ever change or will it remain just another secret swallowed by war?
You wrote that Emilia was your savior and that she is ever on your mind. Please do know, Florian, that she is ever in my heart as well. War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost. Near our cottage, where the small creek winds under the old wooden bridge, is the most beautiful bed of roses.
And there Emilia rests. She is safe. She is loved.

Related Characters: Clara Christensen (speaker), Florian Beck, Emilia Stozek
Page Number: 378
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Salt to the Sea LitChart as a printable PDF.
Salt to the Sea PDF

Emilia Stozek Character Timeline in Salt to the Sea

The timeline below shows where the character Emilia Stozek appears in Salt to the Sea. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
3. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Emilia’s chapter begins with a variation of the same phrase that begins the other of the... (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Cold and exhausted, Emilia hides in a potato cellar. Frozen by the January cold, she closes her eyes and... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
A Russian soldier interrupts Emilia’s rest. He asks her how old she is. She tells him she’s fifteen. She tries... (full context)
5. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...opens in the moments after Florian has shot the Russian soldier who tried to attack Emilia. Florian goes through the man’s pockets, taking cigarettes, food, and gun. The Russian has watches... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Florian prepares to leave, but pauses when Emilia sits up from where she had collapsed on the ground. Florian points his gun at... (full context)
6. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Emilia takes a moment to process what has happened. She realizes Florian has killed the Russian,... (full context)
8. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian leaves the cellar and Emilia follows him, crying. He knows that Hitler has occupied Poland, killing millions of ethnic Poles... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
As Florian walks away, Emilia begins to cry. This reminds him of his little sister, Anni. He doesn’t know where... (full context)
9. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia can tell that Florian wants to leave. She observes, “His race was his own.” (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia doesn’t know Florian’s name, but she imagines he is “a sleeping knight” out of Polish... (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Florian runs away from Emilia and the military planes overhead. She chases after him as she wonders, “Why did everyone... (full context)
11. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...to help those she can. As she thinks she looks up to see Florian and Emilia enter the barn. (full context)
12. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...abandoned, but he decides to stop there anyway. Joana comes over and asks him about Emilia and if he has any food. Florian brushes her off. He plans to keep to... (full context)
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
As Florian tries to go to sleep, Joana comes back to point out that Emilia is Polish, and that Florian did not share this. She also tells him she knows... (full context)
13. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Sitting in the barn, Emilia thinks back to before the war, when her mother was pregnant with her younger sibling.... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Joana comes over to Emilia to check on her. Joana can tell something is wrong, but Emilia refuses to be... (full context)
14. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian and Emilia make Joana nervous. She knows Eva speaks a little Polish and so asks her to... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Eva reports back that Emilia has no papers but is Polish, and that she grew up in Lwów (a region... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana feels pity for Emilia, and understands that the extermination of Polish girls is “to make room for ‘Baltic Germans,’”... (full context)
15. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...comes back to talk to Florian. He agrees to let her see his shrapnel wound. Emilia also comes over to help, and Florian tells her to go away, but Joana asks... (full context)
16. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia isn’t sure if she trusts Joana, but decides to stand watch as she performs surgery,... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia feels indebted to Florian, even though when he told her to go away “his voice... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Outside, looking for a stick, Emilia wonders if she can tell Joana her burning secret, but decides not to because she... (full context)
20. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia doesn’t trust the refugees in the barn, especially Eva, but she trusts Florian, her “knight.”... (full context)
21. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana notices Florian and Emilia have left. The rest of the group is happy that they are gone. They believe... (full context)
23. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian tries to convince Emilia to leave him but she will not go. He tells her he cannot protect her,... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Florian wonders if he has made a mistake, and realizes how suspicious he and Emilia look—a Prussian “carrying enough secrets to blow up the kingdom,” and a “Pole with a... (full context)
24. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...see things. Just not the same things you see.” She asks Joana what Florian and Emilia looked like physically, but already seems to have a sense. Ingrid calls Florian a thief,... (full context)
25. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
As she walks, Emilia thinks back to her childhood with her mother. They would sit in the forest together... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Back home, Emilia also loved waiting for storks to pass through her village each spring, where they would... (full context)
27. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...should have stayed with Joana and her group of refugees. Florian keeps vacillating between wishing Emilia would leave him alone, and being reminded of his sister and feeling too guilty to... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia asks Florian “Heil Hitler?” but he doesn’t respond. He decides he will abandon her that... (full context)
29. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Emilia knows her “knight” (Florian) has secrets, but she has secrets too. She thinks back to... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia’s father was an academic, and disagreed with this massive disenfranchisement of Polish children. Although all... (full context)
30. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian turns at the sound of a gunshot. Emilia has killed the soldier. Florian sees he was German, not Russian, and criticizes Emilia for... (full context)
32. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian hides the dead German soldier beneath the snow, and then continues marching. He realizes Emilia thought she was defending him, not realizing that he is not concerned about being stopped... (full context)
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian can hear Emilia trying not to cry. She once again reminds him of his sister, Anni. The two... (full context)
33. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Emilia can’t stop thinking about how she killed a man. Even though she saved Florian, she... (full context)
34. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Once outside, Joana recognizes Florian and Emilia in the snow. Emilia has collapsed and Joana goes to help her. Pulling open her... (full context)
35. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Florian is shocked and disgusted to learn that Emilia is pregnant. He assumes she has been raped, either by conquering soldiers or civilians made... (full context)
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...to look at the wound on his side. Joana assumes Florian will keep caring for Emilia, but Florian explains he’s behind schedule and can’t look out for the Polish girl. Joana... (full context)
36. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...other Germans, and some even tried to assassinate Hitler. Joana asks Eva to talk to Emilia. Eva discovers that the teenager is eight months pregnant. (full context)
37. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Eva and Joana come over to Emilia to ask her about her pregnancy. Eva wonders if the Soviet soldiers at Nemmersdorf raped... (full context)
40. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...food, but says some are for “the Polish kid.” Joana reminds him her name is Emilia. (full context)
41. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
 Emilia wakes up in the middle of the night because she has to pee. She observes... (full context)
42. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...after Eva’s discovery. They pack up and resume their journey. Eva complains that Florian and Emilia should not be allowed to come with them. Emilia, because she’s Polish, and Florian, because... (full context)
44. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Florian suddenly realizes Emilia has no papers. All civilians are required to carry identification documents, including “name, photograph, nationality,... (full context)
45. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Emilia sits on the wagon, and while she appreciates it, she also feels guilty that others... (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Emilia has blackberry seeds stuck in her teeth from preserves taken from the manor house. These... (full context)
49. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian has disappeared in the chaos. Emilia tries to look for him but Joana holds her back. She insists the group stay... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...renamed Frauenburg, but was originally named Frombork. It was the home of the astronomer Copernicus. Emilia is reminded of the phrase “Per aspara ad astra,” taught to her by her father,... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Joana gives Emilia an identity card that she found on the body of a Latvian woman who died... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Overhead, birds squawk. Emilia knows a legend that says “Seagulls were the souls of dead soldiers. Owls were the... (full context)
51. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...soldier’s foot, which is injured and elevated. Grateful and distracted, the soldier barely looks at Emilia or the group’s registration papers. (full context)
54. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
...morning so they can cross the frozen lagoon. Joana plans to tell any Germans that Emilia is on her way to meet her boyfriend. This makes Emilia think of August, and... (full context)
56. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...him. Back on land, Joana begins to cry. Florian is unsure what to do, but Emilia lifts his arms and places them comfortingly around the weeping nurse. (full context)
58. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
The refugees wait on the bank for the ice to refreeze. Emilia is beginning to go into labor—she has cramping and pressure in her abdomen—but she keeps... (full context)
59. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
The Poet stops the arguing by saying that Florian saved Joana, and also Emilia, who had begun to scramble towards Ingrid as well. Eva, meanwhile, was the only one... (full context)
60. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...approaches the group of refugees and asks for papers. Joana tells Florian he “owes” her. Emilia comes up to him and thanks him in German. She says “Bitte,” or please. Florian... (full context)
62. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...their cart, with their possessions, to another family who will meet them in the city. Emilia considers how she no longer has any possessions. She thinks back to her father who... (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia continues to think about the past. She remembers being sent to the Kleist family farm,... (full context)
63. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...A soldier approaches and tells Florian his boat is ready. Florian is prepared to take Emilia with him, but anticipates losing her in the port city, which is a relief. However,... (full context)
66. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Emilia sees that Florian is beautiful when he smiles. He reminds her of August. Emilia wishes... (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia believes she cannot make it much longer. She feels “with each step, the truth drew... (full context)
69. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...offer herself to work as a nurse, under the condition that she is allowed take Emilia and Florian with her as her patients. Joana notes that Florian’s shrapnel wound has healed,... (full context)
71. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana reveals that Emilia reminds her of someone (her cousin Lina). Florian realizes he can manipulate Joana by talking... (full context)
74. Florian
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...his ship, where she can work. Joana asks if she can take her patients—Florian and Emilia—with her, and Alfred agrees they can come if their papers are in order.  (full context)
77. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia sees Joana leave to help the soldiers and wonders, “Why did everyone leave me?” Still,... (full context)
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia thinks back to when her father dropped her off at the Kleist family farm. Her... (full context)
79. Alfred
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...Florian’s story. He is proud to help him, but has forgotten his promise to help Emilia, the Poet, and Klaus. They ask him to wait for them, and he watches as... (full context)
81. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia feels abandoned, both by Joana and Florian, her “knight.” However, she still has Eva, the... (full context)
83. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Alfred insists Emilia show the inspectors her papers. She freezes. The papers aren’t hers and she feels it... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia whispers to the Poet that it isn’t right for her to steal a woman’s identity.... (full context)
84. Alfred
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
...letter to Hannelore. He explains how he found a nurse for Dr. Richter, and helped Emilia and her friends. He also tells her about Florian and his special mission for Gauleiter... (full context)
86. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia lists dates in her mind. “On September 1, 1939,  Germany invaded Poland from the west.... (full context)
89. Joana
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...she abandoned her post to look for the Poet and the rest of her friends. Emilia, the Poet, and Klaus have all received boarding passes. Emilia is waiting for Joana in... (full context)
92. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia wants to wait for Florian but Joana convinces her to come to the ship now.... (full context)
93. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Emilia feels increasingly panicked. She hates being inside the ship. She is caught up in a... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
...filled with bodies, and even as the Nazi officials promise it will lead to freedom, Emilia remembers that the ship is named for a man who was murdered. She thinks, “The... (full context)
94. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...barricades himself in the projection room. He was able to look both at Joana’s and Emilia’s boarding passes, and so is better able to forge his own. He thinks back to... (full context)
98. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Back in the maternity ward aboard the ship, Dr. Richter observes, as Joana has, that Emilia is traumatized. He wonders if Joana has lost anything during the war. Joana wants to... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana pulls a cot next to Emilia’s so they can sleep side by side. Emilia reminds Joana of her cousin Lina, as... (full context)
100. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana falls asleep quickly, but Emilia is kept awake with the pain of contractions. She sings “All the little duckies” to... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Emilia believes her mother is with her now, and asks, in Polish, “I’m going to die... (full context)
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia is suddenly wracked with intense pain. Joana becomes busy preparing Emilia to give birth, and... (full context)
101. Joana
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana can barely understand what Emilia, “gripped with pain and terror” is saying in a mixture of German and Polish. She... (full context)
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...the doctor does not come quickly enough and so Joana must deliver the child alone. Emilia pushes her baby, “a perfect little bird,” into Joana’s waiting arms. (full context)
103. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia is shocked to be alive. She is also surprised she does not feel better; she... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...Else, but Mrs. Kleist told them “we have one who is much prettier,” and traded Emilia for her own daughter. Emilia was dragged to the cold cellar, where the Soviet soldiers... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana brings Emilia’s baby to her. Dr. Richter asks if she has a name yet, but Emilia shakes... (full context)
105. Joana
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Joana thinks over what Emilia said to her during labor. She understands what Emilia was trying to say—that the child... (full context)
106. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia wakes up. Joana tries to get her to move around a little bit, but she... (full context)
108. Joana
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia pretends to sleep. Joana knows she must raise her spirits and convince her to nurse,... (full context)
111. Joana
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana tries to hold Emilia’s baby near her and inspire some sense of motherly love. Alfred, who has brought Florian,... (full context)
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Joana understands that Emilia clung to Florian because he “saved her from the Russian in the forest.” He’s “proof... (full context)
112. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Florian comes to greet Emilia. She still calls him her “knight.” He takes the baby and compliments her, saying the... (full context)
113. Florian
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...flirt and smile, and the Joana thanks him for bringing her suitcase, and for helping Emilia, with a kiss. Florian kisses her back. (full context)
116. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia considers what Florian told her as she cradles her child. She hopes the baby will... (full context)
119. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia eavesdrops on Joana’s conversation with the blonde Nazi. This is the first time has heard... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia is taken back to living on the farm with the Kleists. She remembers Mrs. Kleist... (full context)
125. Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia thinks back to her time with the Kleist family. She worked hard but nothing she... (full context)
128. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
In the maternity ward, Emilia tells Joana she’s named the baby Halinka, after her mother, Halina’s nickname.  (full context)
131. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Emilia is nauseated by the motion of the ship. She is shocked she is still alive. She... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia feels that “something changed when the knight arrived.” For the first time in a long... (full context)
132. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...living with their great aunt. He has the stolen identity card of a German soldier Emilia killed in the woods. He considers using it to disembark the ship without incident, especially... (full context)
136. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia watches Joana return to the maternity ward, smiling. Emilia knows something is happening between Joana... (full context)
140. Emilia
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia is thrown to the floor as the ship is rocked by loud bangs. She crawls... (full context)
143. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...to slide. Joana wants to wait for orders from Dr. Wendt and Dr. Richter, but Emilia, with Halinka in her arms, insists they get their coats and evacuate. Emilia knows the... (full context)
144. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Emilia cannot get the image of the burning, sinking wreath out of her mind. She tries... (full context)
149. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia and Halinka make it to the deck. The nose of the Gustloff is already underwater.... (full context)
151. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Climbing onto the deck, Joana cannot find Emilia. She helps direct pregnant women towards Dr. Wendt and Dr. Richter, who are loading the... (full context)
153. Florian
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
The remaining boats are filling, but Florian wants to find Joana and Emilia before he boards one. He spots them through the crowd. He helps Joana into a... (full context)
155. Alfred
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...frozen on the deck — the lifeboats are gone, and he is too afraid to jump. Emilia notices two rafts, stuck together by ice. She kicks them to free them and pulls... (full context)
156.  Emilia
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
...across the deck, launching itself into the ocean. Drowning, freezing people float in the water. Emilia tires to call out to those in the water, offering them a place to rest... (full context)
159. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
This chapter is only three sentences. Emilia thinks, “The knight. He had the baby. I knew he’d be a savior.”  (full context)
163. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia takes the pack from Alfred, who is vomiting over the side of the raft. She... (full context)
165. Florian
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...sunk. Florian looks at the lifeboat and realizes they could have fit the Poet and Emilia. He considers his pack. Everything—his papers, his forgery tools, the swan—was in it.  He wonders... (full context)
166. Joana
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Joana considers Emilia, how she pushed Klaus into the boat, sacrificing herself, and begins to cry. (full context)
168. Emilia
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Emilia doesn’t think she can make it to sunrise. Alfred, delirious from the cold keeps talking... (full context)
Agency, Willpower, and Fate Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...so he slips, hiding his head against the raft. He gets up but is unsteady. Emilia reaches to help him, but he jerks away, falling into the water. Emilia is alone.... (full context)
173. Emilia
Storytelling and Fantasy  Theme Icon
Emilia is in the kitchen of her childhood home. Her friends Rachel and Helen are coming... (full context)
174. Florian
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
...in the newspaper, who told a story about her birth mother, a Polish woman named Emilia who died during the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, but only after saving both Halinka... (full context)
Memory and Survival  Theme Icon
Family and Community vs. Selfishness  Theme Icon
Clara explains that Emilia’s frozen body washed ashore in February of 1945, weeks after the Wilhelm Gustloff sank. Clara... (full context)