One Sunday morning in the camp at Buna, the air-raid sirens begin to sound - the camp is being bombed. The SS take refuge in the shelters, while the prisoners assemble in the barracks. The camp is deserted, and near the kitchen two cauldrons of soup have been left with no one guarding them. It is a "supreme temptation", and "hundreds of eyes (look) at them, sparkling with desire", but no one dares take advantage of the situation; "terror (is) stronger than hunger". Suddenly a man creeps out of Block 37, "crawling like a worm in the direction of the cauldrons. As the hordes of prisoners watch, he reaches the first cauldron, and, stretched out, tries to raise himself to its edge. He is paralyzed, either "by weakness or fear", until finally, using the last of his strength, he lifts himself to the edge, and appears for a moment "to be looking at himself, seeking his ghostlike reflection in the soup". Then, "for no apparent reason", he lets out a terrible cry, thrusts his head towards the steaming soup, falls back and writhes on the ground, then moves no more.
The bombs begin to fall on Buna, and the raid lasts for over an hour. When it is over, everyone begins to slowly emerge. The body of the man "with the soup-stained face" lies in the middle of the camp, next to the cauldrons. He is the only victim (Chapter 4).