What did Akiba Drumer and the rabbi from Poland have in common?
The above answer is a very good one, but I wanted to add that both these men are forgotten by their friends and loved ones in the camps. The rabbi's son runs ahead of him and actively attempts to lose his old father who is a drain on his energy and thus his survival. The rabbi is forgotten by his son while still living, and therefore speeds the rabbi's death along.
Akiba is forgotten after his death. He knows he is going to die and asks his friends to say the Kaddish for him after he is gone from them. They promise they will, but in their struggle for survival among the squalid conditions and other ragged souls, they forget to actually say the prayer.
Both Akiba and the rabbi from Poland lost their hope and faith. Both of them are optimistic at the beginning. They pray and try to encourage everyone that God is going to free them. They recite Scripture to themselves and to others. In the end, they both declare that God is no longer with the Jews. The Jews around them try to encourage them but Elie says it was impossible to raise their morale. Both end up dying because of their lost hope.