What items did the S.S. extract from the Jews at the concentration camp in the book Night?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the fourth section of the text, Eliezer speaks of how his gold fillings needed to be extracted by the Nazi appointed dentist.  This process itself is gruesome.  Yet, it shows the extent to which the Nazis felt the need to extract as much as possible from the Jewish people.  Anything that held some level of material value was extracted through the most brutal of means.  Regrettably, I do not think that this only extended to the material realm.  The Nazis make it a point to extract as much dignity and humanity as possible from the Jewish people.  The public nature of executions, the degradation of the prisoners in the camp, as well as the extraction of connection to fellow human beings were all part of the Nazi plan to take everything from the Jewish people who were taken inside their camps.  The Nazis recognized that the more they could extract, the greater the chance the humanity of the Jewish people could be removed, thus making it easier to dehumanize and degrade them.  Part of Wiesel's thematic significance in Night is to illuminate this condition.  The true horror of the Holocaust was the dehumanization that the Nazis perpetrated, a condition that Jewish people demonstrated to one another while in the camps.  This extraction becomes the most painful of all witnessed in the narrative.


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