In Night by Elie Wiesel, what is Elie's job at Buna?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Eliezer arrives at Buna, Juliek explains to him that he will be working in a warehouse full of electrical materials. He also tells Eliezer that the work is not difficult or dangerous. Eliezer is considered lucky to have such an easy job in the camp where he essentially counts bolts, bulbs, and various electrical parts all day. Eliezer even meets two brothers from Czechoslovakia, Yossi and Tibi, who work alongside him in the electrical warehouse. The only person that Eliezer and the other prisoners working in the warehouse have to fear is the Kapo, Idek, who has a notoriously bad temper. One day, Idek savagely beats Eliezer for accidentally standing in his way. After the beating, Eliezer crawls to a corner to nurse his wounds, and a young French woman who worked alongside Eliezer comes to his aid. Eliezer tells the reader that he ran into the French woman on a Metro in Paris years later. 

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kathik eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After being processed at Birkenau and spending three weeks at Auschwitz, Night author Elie Wiesel, his father, and other Jews from the camp are transported to yet another camp--Buna. Elie feels lucky when he gets into what is considered a good unit there. His job is to work in an electrical warehouse where he is responsible for sorting and counting electrical parts like bulbs and bolts as well as electrical fittings. For the most part the workers are left alone to complete their tasks, but new friends Yossi and Tibi tell Elie to watch out for their Kapo Idek who is known to have fits of violence.

Even though the work Elie had to do was not difficult, all of the Jews were treated as slaves. They did not get to choose the work they did and were killed if they did not do it to the satisfaction of the Nazis. Elie felt lucky because so many others had to do the back breaking labor of digging trenches for graves or moving huge rocks from one place to another and other such strenuous work. 

 

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