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At the end of Chapter 7, only one dozen individuals are still alive to disembark the train despite the fact that some one hundred men and boys had boarded it in Gleiwitz. Through four days and three nights, the narrator has watched people gladly toss the dead from the train in order to make more room for themselves and fight to the death over morsels of food, even watching a son murder his father for a bite of bread before he is swarmed by others and they both end up dead, side by side. On the third night, someone attempts to strangle Elie, though he has no idea why. He is saved by his father and an old family friend, Meir Katz, who he describes as "the most robust of us all," though Katz could no longer hang onto life and died before they reached Buchenwald, the train's destination.
When the Jews were taken to Gleiwitz they were given no food or water for three days. They were then loaded onto trains and transported. They were put into wagons and taken to Buchenwald. Elie tells the reader on page 69,
"Meir Katz stayed in the train. The last day had been the most murderous. A hundred of us had got into the wagon. A dozen of us got out - among them, my father and I."
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