The text describes the way in which the news that prisoners will be evacuated changes the camp utterly. We are told of the way in which Elie and his father decide to be evacuated with the other prisoners, and how, ironically, those who actually chose to stay were liberated much sooner than those who left, and of course they did not have to face the cruel and punishing conditions that Elie and his father did along with the other evacuees.
What is key in the description of the camp that we are given of the morning of the evacuation is the way in which the prisoners are described:
The prisoners showed up in all kinds of strange garb; it looked like a masquerade. We each had put on several garmnets, one over the other, to better protect ourselves from the cold.
Elie describes himself and his fellow prisoners as "Poor clowns" because of the way that they are all so bundled up with whatever rags or clothing they could find. This adds a grimly comic tone to this scene.