Joseph is the father of Ruth, Edek and Bronia and
the headmaster of a primary school. However, he gets sent to the prison camp by the Nazis. He is very brave and intelligent, since he could escape by disguising
as a soldier from the prison camp.
Margrit is the mother of the three children. She is a Swiss woman. Unfortunately, she gets sent away by the Nazis too. Later on, she finds Joseph and meets her children and Jan. She kindly accepts Jan to be her son.
Ruth travelling with Bronia and Jan
Ruth is a very responisible and mature girl for her age. At the age of 17, she had to face the difficulties of getting seperated from her parents and raising up her siblings and Jan. Fortunately, she is very brave. It was her who decided to leave Warsaw and journey to Switzerland to meet her parents there, "We must leave Warsaw for good and go and find Father", after hearing her father's message from Jan. Also, she takes care and thinks about others: she never acts selfish, " 'Won't you stay and have someting to eat? You look dreadfully tired and hungry.' But Ruh excused herself beacause of the two children waiting for her outside." Since she is responsible for the other children, she is a strict teacher for Jan. It is only Ruth who can stop Jan from anything he was trying to do and make him feel ashamed of what he did: "Go on your knees and apologise", "This is Jan. It's all his fault." Later on, Jan learns Ruth's teachings and becomes a better boy.
Edek and his siblings running away
Edek is the second eldest of all. He was very important to Ruth and Bronia since "Edek had been their life-line. Food, clothes, money- they depended on him for all these". But unfortunately, he gets sent away by the Nazis when he was caught 'smuggling'. Ruth and Bronia found it hard to live without Edek. When they had found him, he was very sick. But soon he gets determined to find his parents-"Nothing on earth would send me back to Poland". Like Ruth, his sister, he is a very caring boy even when he is ill: " 'Look out for the bridge' said Edek", " 'Where's Jan gone?' he asked". But eventually, his pain gets worster and worter and finally, he says, "I can't go on. I can't go on", giving up and losing his hope of being alive and finding his parents. Due to his siblings and Jan's care, he starts to listen to others - Ruth looked back over her shoulder. She waved Edek towards the boat and saw him, with a laugh and a grimance, obey her." At last, he finds his parents, alive.
Bronia is the youngest of the 4 children. She was an unlucky girl after all: she had to grow up with her siblings, not getting the care of her parents when she was just 5. But due to Ruth's love about her, she grew up as a lovely, wise girl. "Bronia drew what she saw. Soon the walls wewre covered with pictures of people queueing outside the soup kitchen and of children playing hide and seek among the ruins." This quote shows us that she understood what kind of situation her country was in so she didn't act like a young kid. She acted mature, like a grown up. Unfortunately, we do not know a lot about her because she neither speaks or describes her feelings and emotions in the story.
Jan is not a part of Joseph's family, but at the end, he gets accepted by Ruth's parents to join their family. At the beginning of the story, he appeared to be a very mysterious boy; Josph new nothing about him, "What was his name? Where did he live? Were his parents still alive? But the boy would tell him nothing." But as Joseph gave him the Silver Sword he told him his name: "Jan". In addition later on, he treats the Silver Sword with very much care and love: when the British Officer was writing the letter to his wife, it is said that "[Jan] checked through the contents [of the treasure box] in great agitation, then burst into tears... then I remembered the Silver Sword", also when he had lost it, he says, "We'll never find your father. He gave me the sword and it's our guide and life line. We can't do without it." Lastly, due to the fact that he grew up in the enviroment of war, he hates and does not trust any soldiers. When Ian came to help them, Jan acted rude; " 'I hate soldiers. They're all the same,' said Jan 'I hate them' "