In Chapter 5 of Night, what did Akiba Drumer ask the others to do for him, and did they do it?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Akiba Drumer asked the others to say the Kaddish for him after he had gone.  The others promised that they would, but when the time came, they forgot.

Akiba Drumer was a victim of the selection.  He had been unable to avoid being chosen because he had given up hope; "he could only repeat that all was over for him, that he could no longer keep up the struggle, that he had no strength left, nor faith".  Elie believes that if only Akiba Drumer "could have gone on believing in God, if he could have seen a proof of God in this Calvary, he would not have been taken by the selection...but as soon as he felt the first cracks forming in his faith, he had lost his reason for struggling and had begun to die". 

When he was indeed selected, Akiba Drumer said that in three days he would no longer be there, and asked only that the others say the Kaddish for him.  His friends promised that "in three days' time, when (they) saw the smoke rising from the chimney, (they) would think of him...and hold a special service...say the Kaddish".  The days after he was taken away were "terrible days", however, the prisoners "received more blows than food...(and) were crushed with work".  On the third day, when the time came for them to fulfill their promise to Akiba Drummer, his friends forgot to say the Kaddish (Chapter 5).

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Akiba Drumer always remained optimistic and hoped for God’s intervention. He suggests that God is just testing the Jews and trying to determine if they are capable of remaining true to their religious values. He urges the other Jews to remain strong because God loves them and will deliver them. Akiba Drumer also finds a scripture that supposedly enabled him to predict when they would be delivered.

However, the situation goes from bad to worse and many Jews die in the camps and on transit to different camps. Akiba loses hope and stops fighting for his life. He fails the selection and succumbs to the consequences of such failure. Fellow Jews tried to motivate him, but he did not have it in him to fight on.

When the selection came, Akiba asked his fellow Jews to say the Kaddish for him. The Jews promised that in three days when they see the cloud of smoke from the crematory they would say Kaddish for their fallen comrade. However, conditions at the camp got worse and three days after Akiba left the Jews forgot to say the prayer.