How are Madame Schachter and Moishe the Beadle different?  

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Moishe the Beadle was a poor foreign Jew who lived alone in the town of Sighet. He was a good friend of Eliezer and taught him the Zohar before he was deported by the Hungarian police. When Moishe returned to the village, he told the community of Sighet about the horrors he witnessed in the Galician forest. Unfortunately, none of the Jewish citizens believed Moishe and thought that he was a madman.

Unlike Moishe the Beadle, Madame Schachter is a woman in her fifties with a family. She was separated from her husband and two older sons during the first transport which made her lose her mind. While she rode in the cattle cars with the other Jews, she would scream "Look at the fire! Look at the flames! Flames everywhere..." (Wiesel 26). She seemed to be hallucinating, and the other passengers believed she was delirious. Eventually, her cries became reality when the Jews first witnessed the crematoriums at Auschwitz.

Both characters come from different backgrounds and families. Also, Moishe the Beadle actually witnessed the Nazis massacre the foreign Jews, while Madame Schachter simply envisioned the crematoriums at Auschwitz. Moishe also openly warned the Jews, while Schachter's message was ambiguous and hard to interpret.

mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Moshe the Beadle and Madame Schachter act as warning bells in Night. Moshe miraculously returns from his harrowing experience in the forest of Galicia. He has witnessed firsthand the brutality of the Nazis. He is a messenger to the Jews of Sighet. He believes he was spared so that he could return and warn them of the danger. He simply reports what he has seen. Unfortunately, the Jews ignore his warnings. They refuse to believe anything will happen to them.

Madame Schachter is a prophet. She has never literally seen what is awaiting the Jews as they travel to Auschwitz, yet she imagines the flames of the furnaces and screams her warnings to those on the train. She sees the future, whereas Moshe was simply reporting the past. Three times she points out the flames, but when the Jews investigate, they see nothing. Finally, after her fourth warning, as they are about to disembark at Birkenau, the flames of the furnaces come into view. Her prophecy is fulfilled.

Read the study guide:
Night

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question