In Chapter 6 of "Night," how did Zalman die?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In chapter six of "Night," we find the Jews on a forced march in the snow.  The SS made all of the prisoners increase their speed.  They were running and some of them couldn't keep up.  If they dropped out and were seen by the SS they were killed.  Zalman was a "young Polish lad" who was marching beside Elie.  As they were running Zalman begins to cry out in pain saying that his stomach is in pain.  Elie tries to encourage him on but Zalman drops his pants and squats down.  Elie tells us that he was not killed by the SS because they didn't see Zalman go down. 

"The last picture I have of him... I do not think it can have been the SS who finished him, because no one had notice. He must have been trampled to death beneath the feet of the thousands of men who followed us."

poetrymfa's profile pic

poetrymfa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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In Chapter Six of Night, the prisoners are forced to run through the snow "like automatons" by SS forces; anyone who slows down is shot to death, an act in which the SS takes great pleasure.

Zalman, a young Polish boy who had worked at an electrical material depot in Buna, starts experiencing stomach cramps. Elie encourages him to keep running, telling him that the SS cannot make the prisoners "run like this to the end of the world." Zalman cannot bear the pain; he undoes his buttons and lowers his pants, then drops to the ground.

Although Elie cannot be sure, he believes that Zalman must have been trampled under the running crowd of prisoners behind them who dared not stop to help the boy lest they themselves be killed.

In a tragic moment that summarizes the depths of depravity that prisoners of the Holocaust had to endure, Elie unemotionally states, "I soon forgot him. I began to think of myself again."

mlsldy3's profile pic

mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Chapter six of Night finds the prisoners being forced on a march. There are having to march in a blizzard. They end up marching 42 miles. Zalman, a fellow prisoner, is running beside Elie. He complains of stomach cramps and wants to stop. Elie begs him to keep running, because if the SS were to see any of them not running, they would kill them. Zalman says he can't keep going and squats to the ground. Elie says that he never sees him again. Zalman was trampled by the other prisoners.

Elie has an injured foot, but keeps up the pace for his father. They are running together and keep each other going. Zalman was killed because the prisoners were afraid to stop. Elie says that if the SS saw any of them stop running they would kill them. The prisoners were so afraid of the SS that they trampled over one of their own, just to keep the German officers from killing them. 

This march shows us the strength that Elie has. He is injured, but pushed himself for the sake of this father. He sees Zalman go to the ground, and knowing he would never see him again, he still has the strength to keep going. The human will is a force all its own. Elie has the desire deep inside of him to survive, although all around him is nothing but death.

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