When the police come to gather the Jewish people in Elie's neighborhood, their actions reflect the way they fail to see these people as humans:
The Hungarian police used their rifle butts, their clubs to indiscriminately strike old men and women, children and cripples.
The police lash out at the neighborhood's weakest members, hitting them as if they are little more than livestock needing to be herded into a corral.
When Elie arrives at the concentration camp, he witnesses a horror beyond comprehension:
Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes … children thrown into the flames.
Elie cannot even believe that this scene is real and pinches himself; the dehumanization of the Jews imprisoned in this camp is incomprehensible. The soldiers callously toss infants into flames, unmoved by their own acts of torture or the innocence of the young children they murder.
After some time, Elie witnesses the execution of a child who had a "delicate and beautiful face," which was exceedingly rare in the camp. The child had been convicted of a crime and had received a death sentence. Because of his size, however, his hanging was especially brutal. He didn't weigh enough, and it took an especially long time for his weight to suffocate him:
And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes. And we were forced to look at him at close range.
Not only have the soldiers convicted an imprisoned child and sentenced him to die for his "crimes," but they are unmoved by this child's suffering, ordering the other prisoners to walk by and look at him closely as an example of their own power. This inability to be moved, particularly by the agonizing death of a beautiful child, reflects the way the soldiers have dehumanized all of the prisoners, even young children.