What illness is talked about in "The Devil's Arithmetic?"

Expert Answers
ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hanna Stern is a 13 year-old Jewish girl who doesn’t really care about her Jewish heritage.  She doesn’t care that is until she is transported back to the concentration camps.  Once they are arrested and take to the camp, the soldiers start pushing them around, while the guard dogs bark at them.  The men are separated from the women.  Their valuables are taken.  The women are forced to change into prisoner uniforms.  Their hair is cut very short and is often chopped up in places. The soldiers do this because of lice.  All of the prisoners are then tattooed with a number on their left forearm.   They then are placed on crude multi-level wooden racks in wooden barracks.  Hannah’s friend, Ariel learns that his mother and sisters were removed.  He is told that they had typhus.  A very upset Ariel finds his father to give him the bad news.  People who are taken usually do not reappear. 

"Typhus is an infectious disease that is spread by lice or fleas." It was a deadly but common disease in the camps due to the living conditions.

Read the study guide:
The Devil's Arithmetic

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question