Weisel's memoir of the horrors of Nazi occupation and confinement in concentration camps is full of imagery. They are powerful, haunting, shocking images of what it was like for Weisel and other Jewish people at the time.
One of the most striking images is that of fire. In the train car, Madame Schachter becomes delirious and raves about a huge fire that will consume them all. It won't be long until Weisel learns that her delusion was actually prophetic, that fire awaits those who are not chosen to work.
Another image that haunts Weisel is that of the young boy who is hanged for refusing to give information about weapons that had been discovered hidden by one of the camp inmates. The boy and the man who had hidden the weapons were hanged, but the boy was so small that it took him a long time to die. Weisel had described the boy as having the face of an angel. After the hanging, there was nothing angelic about him.
A third image is that of the violin. One of the inmates has managed to keep his treasured violin with him, and on the night that they are made to run barefoot through the snow to another camp, many men die of starvation and exposure. Weisel hears music and wonders who could possibly play while corpses are piled all around them. It is the man who had saved his precious violin, and in the morning he too is dead.
Death, hunger, piles of clothing, ashes--all are images in this book.