Describe the conditions on the train at the beginning of Chapter 2 in the novel Night.

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linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The SS packed as many people as they could into the train cars, so they were very crowded. There was not enough room to sit, so people were forced to stand very close to one another. There were no bathrooms, so people had no choice but to soil themselves. With so many people in the small place, it would have been noisy. There was only a small window--if there was one at all--so it also got very stuffy and hot in there. It was so hot and airless that often the elderly or babies or people who were already ill would die; their bodies would be left where they were until the train stopped. When the trains stopped, the SS would force the people to throw out the dead bodies. They would spray the survivors with water hoses to clean out the waste. That was also the only water the people were allowed to have on the journey.

It would have been a nightmare!!

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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At the beginning of Chapter 2, Eliezer describes the horrific conditions in the cattle cars. He begins by mentioning the close quarters on the train. Eighty Jewish prisoners were packed tightly into each car. There was no room to lie down, and the Jewish prisoners had to take turns sitting in order to rest their legs. In addition to the cramped quarters, there was only one small window in each car which provided little air. The prisoners had difficulty breathing, and their muscles began to ache throughout the arduous ride. There was also no privacy in the cattle cars, and the prisoners had to suffer the anguish of others. One woman, Mrs. Sch├Ąchter, even begun to hallucinate and scream at the top of her lungs. People were unable to calm her down and eventually had to restrain and gag her. There was also little food and no water on the train. Jewish prisoners were forced to suffer the intolerable conditions as the train traveled towards Birkenau.

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