The Book Thief Quotes: 38 Quotes on Misery, Death and More

The Book Thief is a historical novel by the famous Australian author Markus Zusak. The plot follows Liesel Memimger as she comes of age. The story is set in Nazi Germany during World War II. Check out some of the top Book Thief quotes here.

38 The Book Thief Quotes That Will Have You Reminiscing

The Book Thief Quotes About War

#1. “You’re either for the Führer or against him, and I can see that you’re against him. You always have been.” — Hans Hubermann.

#2. “It’s harder to find a Jew in the dark. He sat on his suitcase, waiting. How many days had it been now? He had eaten only the foul taste of his own hungry breath for what felt like weeks, and still, nothing. Occasionally voices wandered past and sometimes he longed for them to knuckle the door, to open it, to drag him out, into the unbearable light.” — Max Vandenburg.

#3. “They were French, they were Jews, and they were you.” — Death.

#4. “The road of yellow stars.” — Death.

#5. “She was a Jew feeder without a question in the world on that man’s first night in Molching. She was an arm reacher, deep into a mattress, to deliver a sketchbook to a teenage girl.” — Death.

#6. “In front of him, he read from the copy of Mein Kampf. His savior. Sweat was swimming out of his hands. Fingermarks clutched the book.” — Death.

#7. “They should have come by now and swept through the house, looking for any evidence of Jew loving or treason, but it appeared that Max had left for no reason at all. He could have been asleep in the basement or sketching in his book.” — Death.

The Book Thief Quotes About Books and Words

#8. “Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.” — Markus Zusak.

#9. “She could smell the pages. She could almost taste the words as they stacked up around her.” — Markus Zusak.

#10. “The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest.” — Markus Zusak.

#11. “Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.” — Markus Zusak.

#12. “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” — Markus Zusak.

#13. “The orange flames waved at the crowd as paper and print dissolved inside them. Burning words were torn from their sentences.” — Markus Zusak.

#14. “Beneath her shirt, a book was eating her up.” — Death.

#15. “I thought if you’re not going to read any more of my books, you might like to write one instead. You can certainly write. You write well.” — Liesel.

#16. “The words. Why did they have to exist? Without them, there wouldn’t be any of this. Without words, the Führer was nothing.” — Death.

#17. “The fingers of her soul touched the story that was written so long ago in her Himmel Street basement.” — Death.

#18. “I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race. I wanted to ask how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” — Markus Zusak.

#19. “I like that every page in every book can have a gem on it. It’s probably what I love most about writing—that words can be used in a way that’s like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around. They’re the best moments in a day of writing—when an image appears that you didn’t know would be there when you started work in the morning.” — Markus Zusak.

The Book Thief Quotes About Sadness and Misery

#20. “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.” — Markus Zusak.

#21. “Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day.” — Death.

#22. “I witness the ones that are left behind, crumbled among the jigsaw puzzles of realization, despair, and surprise. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs.” — Death.

#23. “There was a chaos of goodbye.” — Death.

#24. “The suffering faces of depleted men and women reached across to them, pleading not so much for help, but for an explanation. Just something to subdue this confusion.” — Death.

The Book Thief Quotes on Love

#25. “He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to his grave without them.” — Death.

#26. “They hugged and cried and fell on the floor.” — Death.

#27. “As long as both she and Rudy lived, she would never kiss that miserable, filthy Saukerl.” — Death.

#28. “Liesel observed the strangeness of her foster father’s eyes. They were made of kindness, and silver. Upon seeing those eyes, understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot.” — Death.

#29. “If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter.” ― Markus Zusak.

#30. “He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.” — Markus Zusak.

#31. “Somewhere, far down, there was an itch in his heart, but he made it a point not to scratch it. He was afraid of what might come leaking out.” — Markus Zusak.

The Book Thief Quotes on Death

#32. “I’ve seen so many young men over the years who think they’re running at other young men. They are not. They’re running at me.” — Markus Zusak.

#33. “’When death captures me,’ the boy vowed, ‘he will feel my fist on his face.’ Personally, I quite like that. Such stupid gallantry.” — Max.

#34. “They say that war is death’s best friend, but… war is like the new boss who expects the impossible. He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing incessantly, ‘Get it done, get it done.’ So, you work harder. You get the job done. The boss, however, doesn’t thank you. He asks for more.” — Markus Zusak.

#35. “Have me, they said, and there was no stopping them. They were frightened, no question, but they were not afraid of me. It was a fear of messing up and having to face themselves again, and facing the world, and the likes of you.” — Markus Zusak.

#36. “They have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.” — Markus Zusak.

#37. “The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.” — Death.

#38. “She was saying goodbye and she didn’t even know it.” — Markus Zusak.


The Book Thief was published in 2005 and went on to become an international bestseller. It was translated into 63 languages and sold 16 million copies. It was adapted into a feature film in 2013 with the same name, directed by Brian Percival.

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