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The prisoner in charge of Elie's block at Auschwitz was removed from his position because he was considered "too humane". He was replaced by a new head who "was savage, and his assistants were real monsters".
The prisoner originally in charge of Elie's block upon his arrival was "a young Pole, who smiled at (them)". He spoke kindly to the newcomers, calling them "comrades" and urged them not to lose courage. He acknowledged that "there's a long road of suffering ahead", but encouraged them by pointing out that they had already escaped "the gravest danger - selection". He told them that they would "all see the day of liberation" and exhorted them to "have faith". His one word of advice to them was to "let there be comradeship among (themselves)"; they should help one another, it was the only way to survive.
The young Pole's words were the first "human words" Elie had heard since being deported and imprisoned. Under his leadership, the prisoners were treated "without brutality". They received new clothes, and were given black coffee and meager but fair rations of thick soup and bread and margarine. After the horror of Birkenau, "the only worry was to avoid moves" in this comparatively peaceful environment, which lasted a little over two weeks. At the beginning of the third week, however, "the prisoner in charge of (the) block was deprived of his office, being considered too humane", and "the good days were over" (Chapter 3).
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