In Chapter 2 of Night, explain how specific characters are witnesses.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One witness that is most striking out of chapter 2 would be Madame Schachter.  Madame Schachter serves as a witness because she "sees" the fire that awaits those on the trains. She witnesses the future for the Jewish people.  Like Moshe the Beadle, whose role as a witness meant to serve the larger community, she is rejected.  Her eyewitness testimony is first dismissed out of pity and then is forcibly silenced when the other people on the train beat her into silence.  Madame Schachter's son is also a witness.  Terrified at what his mother is screaming out, he tries to be a witness who comforts his mother.  Yet, Eliezer notes that when the boy sees his mother being beaten, he does nothing to stop as witness becomes a bystander.  

In the dismissal of Moshe the Beadle as witness, he was derided and mocked for speaking untruths.  In Madame Schachter being silenced, the community did not deny her testimony as a witness.  As they were beating her, no one said she was wrong.  In fact, when they arrive at Auschwitz, to the reception center of Birkenau, they realize she was right when they see the crematorium and the factory of death that Madame Schachter so correctly witnessed.

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