Night Questions and Answers
by Elie Wiesel

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When the prisoners arrive at Auschwitz- Birkenau in Night, what do they see that proves Madame Schachter's visions were tragically accurate?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While Elie and the other Jewish prisoners are being transported to Auschwitz in tightly packed cattle cars, a hysterical woman named Mrs. Schächter begins yelling,

"Fire! I see a fire! I see a fire!" (Wiesel, 25).

Her screams startle the other passengers, who desperately try to calm her down. However, Mrs. Schächter continues to scream about witnessing a terrible fire, which seems to be an imaginary hallucination. Two young prisoners take the initiative and proceed to bound, gag, and beat Mrs. Schächter until she stops screaming. When the transports arrive at Birkenau, the Jewish prisoners look outside and see a similar image to what Mrs. Schächter described on the train, which happens to be massive flames shooting into the sky from the concentration camp crematorium. After the prisoners pass the selection process, they are led towards a massive pit of flaming bodies outside of the crematorium. The prisoners march two steps away from the pit of burning corpses before they are suddenly led to their barracks. Elie then recalls Mrs. Schächter's prophetic vision and asks his father,

"Do you remember Mrs. Schächter, in the train?" (Wiesel, 34).

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The presence and treatment of Madame Schachter is probably one of the most haunting images in the narrative.  When Madame Schachter screams about fire and its presence all around the victims, most of the people in the railroad car try to silence her with force and through shunning her. Yet, with the arrival into Birkenau, there is much to prove her right, when it is too late.  The chimneys would be one element of fire that proves her right.  The crematoriums would be another.  While standing in line, Eliezer's father holds his son's hand and tells him, "Remember what Madame Schachter said."  This helps to bring to light how the lines of people were standing in order to be gassed or burned, confirmation that the fire about which Madame Schachter was screaming was sadly accurate.

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