When He Arrives At Auschwitz And Then At Buna
When Elie arrives at Auschwitz and then at Buna, Weisel describes scenes he will never forget. What scenes, ideas, or feelings from the memoir do you find unforgettable?
The specific scene that Wiesel records as unforgettable is when he witnesses live infants being tossed into the fire, resulting in plumes of smoke mixed with ashes. He writes,
"Never shall I forget that night. . ."
and then continues with the repetition of "never" in order to demonstrate the searing effect of the horrific scene upon not only his eyes but also upon his soul. For him, this event results in a loss of faith, for he cannot fathom how his God would allow innocent babies to perish in such a way.
For me, when Wiesel describes his separation from his mother and little sister upon his arrival in the camp, I find that to be one of the most memorable scenes because it is the last time Elie sees either one and he does not know that they are parting forever.
The description of the death of babies was the first detail to really give me that pain in my stomach upon reading, and one which, despite how many times I teach this book, continues to bother me. Also, the slowness with which Elie and his father seem to creep toward the pit, and the fact that they are turned at the very last minute, always re-heightens that initial fear he had. With every time I re-read this story, I am always struck again by what they didn't even know awaited them.
I found the saddest part to be when the SS Officers hung the pipel. He was a nice, young, innocent kid, but he didn't weight enough to die instantly from hanging, so he dangled there for a long time halfway between life and death, while the prisoners were made to watch the poor boy die an excrutiating death.
A part that always makes me sad (besides the babies and machine guns) is when Moishe the Beadle comes back to warn everyone and no one listens. He says he does not care about his death, but he managed to keep himself alive because he was driven by the need to warn everyone. They didn't listen.