What do the words "cattle" and "merchandise" suggest about how the Nazis perceived the inmates?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The language in Weisel's Night is harrowing. When the word "cattle" is used to describe people you have reached a new depth of depravity, which the books shows time and time again.

Right from the first chapter the Jews are put into cattle cars. This continues for a few more chapters until the Jews reach concentration camps where they will work and be put to death. When we think about what will happen to the Jews, you cannot help but think of the image of cattle being slaughtered. This imagery, to be honest, does not go far enough, as the Jews are mindlessly slaughtered for no reason other than the depravity and madness of man. 

One episode that stands out is when a boy is hanged. Weisel writes:

"For more than half an hour [the child in the noose] stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed."

Those who perpetrated this crime against humanity clearly did not view Jews as humans. How else could they have done this? To these criminals, the Jews were cattle and merchandise at best - disposable and not worthy of being treated humanely. 

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