When the prisoners of Buchenwald are liberated by the American army, the first thing they do is eat. For six days prior to their liberation prisoners were not fed due to lack of supplies. Fearing the "final solution" is near, a large group of prisoners uses arms that they have gathered over time and successfully pushes the Nazis out of the camp. Later that night American soldiers reach the camp and they bring food to the starving people. In fact several people eat so much that they get sick or food poisoned; this includes Elie.
For two weeks Elie almost dies from ironically eating too much food. When he finally regains his strength he gets up to look in the mirror for the first the first time in a year. Elie does not recognize himself but eventually is able to identify himself by his eyes that have not changed.