What did Elie learn about people staying in hospitals in Night?

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In Night by Elie Wiesel, Elie fears going to the hospital. It is clear that in the death camps, the Nazis kill anyone who is too weak or too sick to work. He therefore worries that going to the hospital will brand him incapable of doing the heavy labor that the Nazis force the prisoners to do. Nevertheless, he must visit the hospital at one point and despite his fears, he finds that it was the right decision.

Elie's foot is injured and it is becoming too painful for him to walk. He goes to the doctor, who tells him that he needs an operation or he will lose the foot and perhaps even "the whole leg would have to be amputated."

Elie realizes that he has no choice. He agrees to enter the hospital. The operation goes well. He also notes the relative luxury of the hospital compared to the barracks. He writes:

They put me into a bed with white sheets. I had forgotten that people slept in sheets.

The hospital was not bad at all. We were given good bread and thicker soup. No more bell. No more roll call. No more work. Now and then I was able to send a bit of bread to my father.

However, Elie's neighbor in the next hospital bed tells him,

You mustn’t rejoice too soon, my boy. There’s selection here too. More often than outside. Germany doesn’t need sick Jews.

The neighbor warns Elie to leave the hospital as soon as he can. When the prisoners in the hospital hear rumors that the Russians are getting closer, they have mixed feelings. On the one hand, they become optimistic that the approach of the Russians means that the war will soon be over and the camp will be liberated and they will have survived. On the other hand, they had heard these rumors so many times in the past that they did not want to have too much hope.

Then another thing is brought to Elie’s attention, which is that the Nazis are going to continue killing until the absolute last moment. He is fearful that he will be easily susceptible as a patient in the hospital. He thinks:

Were the SS going to leave hundreds of prisoners to strut about in the hospital blocks, waiting for their liberators? Were they going to let the Jews hear the twelfth stroke sound? Obviously not. “All the invalids will be summarily killed,” said the faceless one. “And sent to the crematory in a final batch.”

He and his father discuss the situation and decide that remaining in this hospital is too dangerous. They leave, even though Elie is not yet healed. Ironically, after the war, he learns that the patients who remained in the hospital were liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.

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