How much was each person allowed to take with him or her?Answer is in chapter 1 or 2

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are not given a specific quantity of possessions that the Jews were allowed to take with them. However, the author does describe watching the first group of Jews leaving and says:

On everyone's back, there was a sack.

Remember, earlier, Elie's father is charged with telling his fellow Jews about their imminent departure and he informs them of the rules:

"Each of us will be allowed to bring his personal belongings. A backpack, some food, a few items of clothing. Nothing else."

Of course, even these few possessions are in vain, for, when they arrive at the prison camp, they are forced to leave them in the train:

The beloved objects that we had carried with us from place to place were now left behind in the wagon and, with them, finally, our illusions.

It is interesting how this quote clearly establishes a link between their possessions and hope. The belongings become a symbol of a hope that things aren't as bad as they seem, and their loss ushers in a recognition of the reality of their situation.