in Elie Wiesel's Night, where does the train stop and what do they see when they get there?

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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In Night, we get a first-hand look at the horror of the way Jewish people were treated in Nazi Germany. Elie Wiesel tells his story of when he was captured and taken to the death camps. In chapter 1, we see the end of normal life for Elie and the beginning of the nightmare he was about to face. In chapter 2, Elie and his family are herded like cattle into the train. They have to ride for days, crowded so much that they think they are going to suffocate. 

In the midst of the train ride, Mrs. Schachter, an elderly woman everyone thinks is crazy, starts screaming about the smoke. She asks the others if they can see the smoke? The others go to the cracks in the doors, but all they see is night surrounding them. When the train finally comes to a stop they are at Birkenau, a part of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This is the place where they separate into two groups: men who are fit for work and the women, children, ill and the elderly. Elie doesn't realize that after that moment he will never see his mother or sister again. Elie makes a comment about the first thing he sees: the smoke stacks. Elie's first glimpse coming off the train is of the towers that are burning the remains of the recently massacred Jewish newcomers. 

"And as the train stopped, this time we saw flames rising from a tall chimney into the black sky. In front of us those flames. In the air, the smell of burning flesh."

Night takes us into the nightmare that was a reality for so many people. How could we allow such horrors to take place? Elie Wiesel survived the death camps, but he still lives with the memories of those horrible days and months. We all need to make sure such atrocities never happen again.

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