Literapedia Book Notes for

A Time to Love and a Time to Die by Erich Maria Remarque


  • Sauer (ch 1)— a German soldier
  • Immerman (ch 1)— has spent time in the disciplinary company
  • Rahe (ch 1)— the Company commander
  • Sgt. Muecke (ch 1)— a more experienced German officer
  • Ernst Graeber (ch 1)— a German soldier; the protagonist
  • Isaac Hirschland (ch 1)— German soldier; has 1/4 Jewish blood
  • Berning (ch 1)— a German soldier
  • Steinbrenner (ch 1)— "19 years old, blonde, with the face of a Gothic angel."
  • Russian "guerillas" (ch 1)— 1 old man, 1 young woman, 2 young men
  • Lt. Mueller (ch 1)— a German officer under Rahe
  • Reicke (ch 1)— a dead German officer
  • Fresenburg (ch 3)— an old, trusted friend of Graeber
  • Schneider (ch 4)— a German soldier who is killed
  • driver (ch 4)— chews tobacco
  • Luettjens (ch 5)— will pray for a fellow wounded soldier
  • man from Cologne (ch 5)— is not permitted to go to Cologne for his leave
  • air raid warden (ch 7)— somewhat crazy
  • Boettcher (ch 8)— likes large women
  • Zeiglers (ch 8)— friends of Graeber's parents
  • Frau Lieser (ch 8)— Elizabeth's neighbor
  • Elisabeth Kruse (ch 8)— daughter of Graeber's father's friend
  • Rummel (ch 10)— his wife and daughter were killed
  • Lane-Corporal Reuter (ch 10)— has gout
  • Engineer Feldmann (ch 10)— trying to make up for all his lost sleep while on leave
  • Frau Klienert (ch 10)— Binding's servant
  • Alfons Binding (ch 10)— Graeber's old schoolmate, now a Party member and S.A. commander
  • Ludwig Wellmann (ch 10)— Graeber's old schoolmate, almost at the end of his leave
  • cemetery overseer (ch 11)— very overworked
  • waiter (ch 12)— is very impressed with Graeber's taste in wine and food
  • Heini (ch 13)— an S.D. officer
  • Mutzig (ch 16)— an amputee
  • registrar (ch 19)— a jerkface
  • block warden (ch 20)— guards Elisabeth's factory
  • Josef (ch 21)— a Jew in hiding
  • the old sexton (ch 22)— a pendulous, good man
  • Frau Witte (ch 20)— owns the Inn and Restaurant Witte
  • Russian "guerillas" (ch 27)— 1 old man, 1 young woman, 1 old woman, 1 young man

Chapter Summaries

  1. The snow is melting, uncovering soldiers' corpses from previous battles. Sauer and Immerman talk during sentry duty. The body of Lt. Reicke is found and four Russian "guerrillas" are executed.
  2. Graeber is awake and talks with Immerman about his upcoming furlough, then discusses the state of the war with Sauer. He then visits the recently uncovered German bodies found in the melting snow.
  3. The men bury Reicke and the other German bodies. Steinbrenner reports the latest "news" (propaganda) of the war to the others. Wounded men come through the village and Graeber meets and talks with his old friend Fresenberg, who tells him to meet with Pohlmann while on leave.
  4. The fortifications are bombarded. Later the soldiers dig out and clean up destroyed areas. Graeber's furlough is approved and he is sent out of the camp, which is preparing for battle.
  5. Graeber arrives at the train station. After a long wait he is crowded onto a train with wounded and other men on leave. Graeber gets a shave. The train arrives and the men bathe and get clean clothes. The furloughs are processed and the men released.
  6. The men talk during the long train ride. Graeber waits for a train to his home town, Werden. Graeber takes a bus into town. He begins walking home and sees that the city has been bombed.
  7. He has a run-in with an air raid warden and helps a team to dig out victims of a recent bombing. He finds the ruins of his home.
  8. He wakes up at the site of his old home. He posts a notice, visits the missing persons bureau, and checks the registry office and casualty lists, for news of his parents. He meets Boettcher who is looking for his wife. Graeber visits the Ziegler family and finds no definite news of his parents.
  9. Graeber continues the search for his parents and meets Elisabeth, the daughter of Dr. Kruse who has been sent to a concentration camp, and finds no news. He and Elisabeth go to a shelter to wait out a bomb raid. He later reunites with Boettcher at the town hall, who also has had no luck. He goes to stay at the local barracks.
  10. Graeber leaves the barracks to make his daily rounds for information. He runs into Binding and visits his house. Binding offers to inquire about his parents and his general hospitality. Graeber revisits his old house. Returning to the barracks he runs into a fellow soldier who tells him not to waste his leave.
  11. Graeber visits the cemetery but does not find his parents. He revisits Binding's house and receives a bottle of armagnac. He goes back to Elisabeth's to share it with her. They spend the evening talking in her apartment and then take a long walk. They decide to go to dinner the next night.
  12. Boettcher admits to sleeping with another woman in lieu of his missing wife. The other soldiers help Graeber with his dinner plans. Graeber visits his old school looking for Pohlmann, who has been fired. He revisits his old house and sees the air warden again. That evening he picks up Elisabeth and they go to the Hotel Germania, a fine officers' restaurant. He finds a response to his posted inquiry of his parents.
  13. Graeber goes to the post office per the note in response to his inquiry and picks up a package for himself that never got to the front. He visits Binding for news an finds him with Heini, an S.D. officer. Graeber visits Pohlmann, his old teacher.He later takes a nap under a linden tree in a ruined town square.
  14. Graeber and Elizabeth go back to the Hotel Germania, but there is an air raid. Afterwards he and Elisabeth are again on a walk and they end up comforting each other in a grown-up way.
  15. Graeber is back at the barracks with the other men. Later he offers to get food for Elisabeth and obtains it from Binding, who is celebrating his birthday. Graeber and Elizabeth enjoy their lavish meal without Frau Lieser around and they talk extensively, concluding that everyone is in a terrible situation and thus they must make the most of whatever life they may have.
  16. Graeber revisits his house and runs in to a family living in the ruins. He runs into a school friend who is now an amputee and agrees to visit him. He asks Elisabeth to marry him; she refuses at first and later that night agrees.
  17. Graeber uses Binding's house to bathe and prepare for his wedding. He brings 2 pounds of sugar over to Frau Lieser and Elisabeth's apartment. He gets some things in order for the wedding and visits Hirschland's family. He picks up Elisabeth from her work and expresses his fears about wedding complications due to her father.
  18. Boettcher is upset after finding his wife. Graeber goes to the post office and gets a dress uniform. He visits Mutzig at the City Hospital. He revisits Pohlmann and receives a wedding gift.
  19. Graeber and Elisabeth get the papers needed for the wedding. Graeber gets his trousers cleaned and buys flowers for the wedding. He and Elisabeth go and are legally married.They go to the woods outside the city to honeymoon. A thunderstorm comes and they run in to a war prisoner labor band when they take shelter.
  20. There is a midday air raid. Graeber witnesses the aftermath and saves Elisabeth's things from her burning apartment. They building collapses and they camp near Pohlmann's house.
  21. Pohlmann returns with a friend. Elisabeth leaves for work. Graeber stores Elisabeth's things at a church, registers with the Housing Authority and visits Binding, who was killed in the raid. He returns to Pohlmann's and talks with Josef.
  22. Bombing refugees wait outside Katherinenkirche for a place to stay. Graeber discovers the miraculously whole Inn and Restaurant Witte. He gets a recent letter from his parents and is relieved. He talks with the air raid warden again. He and Elisabeth have dinner at the Witte and go to the Katherinenkirche to sleep.
  23. Graeber makes coffee. When Elisabeth is at work Graeber is given a summons for her to appear before the Gestapo. Josef reports that Pohlmann is arrested. Graeber visits the Gestapo, receives Dr. Kruse's ashes and buries them. He and Elisabeth go hat shopping and stay at the Witte.
  24. Graeber and Elisabeth spend the rest of his leave at the inn. He takes the train back to the front.
  25. Graeber finds Hirschland alive and well and confronts Steinbrenner about the letter he forged to Hirschland's family. During sentry duty he seeks advice from Sauer.
  26. Graeber is in constant battle at the front; the Germans are losing badly and severely under-supplied. Graeber visits a wounded Fresenburg at the field hospital after the battle is lost. He thinks painfully of Elisabeth.
  27. Graeber is placed in charge of four Russian prisoners. The German position is attacked. Graeber shoots Steinbrenner and frees the Russian prisoners. He is shot by them.

Book Note Creator

Suzanne Vaughan