Night Essay

910 Words4 Pages
Packed into cattle cars, the Jews are tormented by nearly unbearable conditions. There is almost no air to breathe, the heat is intense, there is no room to sit, and everyone is hungry and thirsty. In their fear, the Jews begin to lose their sense of public decorum. Some men and women begin to flirt openly on the train as though they were alone, while others pretend not to notice. After days of travel in these inhuman conditions, the train arrives at the Czechoslovakian border, and the Jews realize that they are not simply being relocated. A German officer takes official charge of the train, threatening to shoot any Jew who refuses to yield his or her valuables and to exterminate everybody in the car if anybody escapes. The doors to the car are nailed shut, further preventing escape. Madame Schächter, a middle-aged woman who is on the train with her ten-year-old son, soon cracks under the oppressive treatment to which the Jews are subjected. On the third night, she begins to scream that she sees a fire in the darkness outside the car. Although no fire is visible, she terrifies the Jews in the car, who are reminded that they do not know what awaits them. But, as with Moshe the Beadle earlier in the memoir, they console themselves in the belief that Madame Schächter is crazy. Finally, she is tied up and gagged so that she cannot scream. Her child, sitting next to her, watches and cries. When Madame Schächter breaks out of her bonds and continues to scream about the furnace that awaits them, she is beaten into silence by some of the boys on the train, with the encouragement of the others. The next night, Madame Schächter begins her screaming again. The prisoners on the train find out, when the train eventually stops, that they have reached Auschwitz station. This name means nothing to them, and they bribe some locals to get news. They are told that they have

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