Gavriel, the enigmatic Jew who lives with Gregor for several days in a cave in a forest in Hungary. About thirty years old, taller than Gregor, and slightly stooped, Gavriel has no name but accepts the true Jewish name of Gregor after Gregor offers it to him. A man of a thousand voices and a thousand names from another place and time, Gavriel laughs at war and killing. It is he who tells Gregor of the true fate of the Jews and saves the life of his young companion with his own surrender to Hungarian soldiers.
Maria, the Christian housekeeper to Gregor’s family before they are killed. The old woman lives alone in a small cottage in a Christian village in Hungary. Wise and strong, she devises the false identity for Gregor of a deaf-mute idiot son of her harlot sister Ileana and is able to give Gregor refuge in her home for a few months.
Lieb the Lion, the courageous Jewish childhood comrade of Gregor. After Gregor leaves Maria’s home and goes into hiding in the forest, he surprisingly meets Lieb, who has become the leader of the Jewish underground partisans. Loyal and strong, he helps Gregor in a vain effort to locate Gavriel in a local prison that is in a town that is supposedlyJudenrein. In the process, Lieb is captured by Hungarian soldiers. Like Gavriel, he is a victorious human being, able to laugh at his own torture.
Clara, the young lover of Lieb. A beautiful fellow partisan, she joins Lieb and Gregor in their attempt to find Gavriel. With courage and cleverness, she acts the part of the lover of Gregor as they become friendly with Janos, a simpleminded, anti-Semitic guard at the prison. After Lieb’s death and a chance meeting with Gregor in Paris after the war, she agrees to marry Gregor even though they both acknowledge that she still loves Lieb. Because of this lack of love, their marriage is never joyful. Despite the ghosts that haunt their lives, they decide to fight the past in what Gregor calls a “bitter, austere, and obstinate battle.”