Back in Molching, Liesel is playing soccer one day when Nazis arrive to check if each house's basement is suitable to be a bomb shelter. Liesel is terrified, and she crashes into another boy to have an excuse to go home. Rudy insists on helping her, so Liesel makes him fetch Hans. Liesel tells her Papa what happened and they return home.
The relief of Max waking up is short-lived, as the Hubermanns are again reminded of the constant danger of their situation. This situation sets up a scene of traditional suspense – Death hasn't given away the ending yet.
The Hubermanns are frantic trying to decide what to do with Max, and Hans decides to pretend nothing is unusual just as there is a knock on the door. They warn Max to hide, and the Nazi enters. He is very friendly and jokes with Liesel, and then checks the basement for three excruciating minutes. The man doesn't notice anything, and when he leaves everyone collapses with relief. Max was hiding under the stairs with a pair of scissors, and he apologizes to the family for putting them through such a trial.
The double life the Hubermanns live is in full effect here, as the family jokes with the Nazi while Max hides secretly in the basement. They are reminded again that they are committing a crime, as they have "stolen" a Jew. The relief after the ordeal is over is another minute of happiness that offers Liesel (and her family, and the reader) a welcome reprieve.