In chapter 5 of Night, what did Akiba Drumer ask the others to do for him, and did they do it?

In chapter 5 of Night, Akiba Drumer asks his fellow inmates to say Kaddish for him after he dies. However, everyone forgets.

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Akiba Drumer makes a simple request to his fellow inmates: that they say the Kaddish for him after his death. In Judaism, the Kaddish is a hymn of praise often sung after someone has died. It is this “Mourner's Kaddish” that Akiba wants to be sung after he passes away.

Akiba makes this request despite the fact that his faith has gone. One day, he tells Elie,

It's over. God is no longer with us.

Akiba had previously been such a devout Jew, believing with every fiber of his being that the evils inflicted upon the Jews by the Nazis were all part of a test to see if God's chosen people were capable of overcoming their base instincts. But now, after everything he's been through, he's convinced that God has abandoned the Jews just when they need him the most.

Even so, he still asks the other inmates to say Kaddish for him when he dies. Elie and the others promise that they will do so. However, three days after Akiba's death, everyone forgets to say Kaddish.

The reason for their forgetfulness isn't hard to find. During those terrible days, the inmates received more blows than food as they were forced to carry out crushing toil. Focused solely on the grim fight for survival, they had other things on their mind than saying Kaddish for Akiba.

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When he fails the selection at the camp, Akiba Drumer asks his fellow prisoners to say Kaddish for him. His friends promise to fulfill Akiba's final request when they see the smoke rising from the crematorium where he will be killed; however, when the time comes for them to perform the hymn for Akiba, they forget their promise.

The inmates forget to say Kaddish for Akiba because they have become too preoccupied with their own suffering to think about anyone else, let alone the dead who no longer share in their earthly troubles. Throughout Night, Wiesel shows how basic relationships, even ones between friends or family members, can be broken by intense suffering. Instead of sticking together, some prisoners assume an everyone-for-themselves attitude in response to the horrific conditions at the camps. Akiba's friends forgetting to say Kaddish for him because they are too broken down and tired is a prelude to similar events later in the novel, such as Rabbi Eliahou's son abandoning his weak father during a death march. All of this contrasts with Elie's relationship with his father: though Elie is tempted to leave his ailing father behind in order to preserve his own life, he stays with him anyway.

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Akiba Drumer always remained optimistic and hoped for God’s intervention. He suggests that God is just testing the Jews and trying to determine if they are capable of remaining true to their religious values. He urges the other Jews to remain strong because God loves them and will deliver them. Akiba Drumer also finds a scripture that supposedly enabled him to predict when they would be delivered.

However, the situation goes from bad to worse and many Jews die in the camps and on transit to different camps. Akiba loses hope and stops fighting for his life. He fails the selection and succumbs to the consequences of such failure. Fellow Jews tried to motivate him, but he did not have it in him to fight on.

When the selection came, Akiba asked his fellow Jews to say the Kaddish for him. The Jews promised that in three days when they see the cloud of smoke from the crematory they would say Kaddish for their fallen comrade. However, conditions at the camp got worse and three days after Akiba left the Jews forgot to say the prayer.

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Akiba Drumer asked the others to say the Kaddish for him after he had gone.  The others promised that they would, but when the time came, they forgot.

Akiba Drumer was a victim of the selection.  He had been unable to avoid being chosen because he had given up hope; "he could only repeat that all was over for him, that he could no longer keep up the struggle, that he had no strength left, nor faith".  Elie believes that if only Akiba Drumer "could have gone on believing in God, if he could have seen a proof of God in this Calvary, he would not have been taken by the selection...but as soon as he felt the first cracks forming in his faith, he had lost his reason for struggling and had begun to die". 

When he was indeed selected, Akiba Drumer said that in three days he would no longer be there, and asked only that the others say the Kaddish for him.  His friends promised that "in three days' time, when (they) saw the smoke rising from the chimney, (they) would think of him...and hold a special service...say the Kaddish".  The days after he was taken away were "terrible days", however, the prisoners "received more blows than food...(and) were crushed with work".  On the third day, when the time came for them to fulfill their promise to Akiba Drummer, his friends forgot to say the Kaddish (Chapter 5).

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