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Chapters 35-39 Summary

Chapters 35-36: "Spring"

In the spring, starving orphans appear in the courtyard, singing for food, but no one has anything to give them. Wagons filled with bodies are lined up at the gate of the cemetery, while the piper continues to march in the street, calling to the children, "Come to the candy mountain." Every chance she gets, Janina plays the dangerous game of harassing Buffo and the other Flops. Misha can do nothing to stop her, and he often goes off by himself, closing his eyes and dreaming of the past, when there was food everywhere for the taking.

One day, Uri comes to Misha with a warning, telling him to get out of the ghetto at all costs. Uri, who is dressed smartly, says that the Jackboots have begun deportations with the goal of being rid of the Jews forever. Before he leaves, he gives Misha a final gift. It is a piece of chocolate, Misha's favorite—buttercream with a hazelnut heart. Misha goes to warn the homeless boys and the Milgroms, but no one will believe him. The general response is one of despair. Everyone feels that the Jackboots have already committed every atrocity against the Jews and that "there is nothing else they can do to [them]."

Chapters 37-39: "Summer"

The first in an endless line of boxcars comes to the Stawki Station just beyond the wall surrounding the ghetto. Janina is enthralled; she is convinced that the trains will take the Jews to the piper's "candy mountain." Soon, the Jackboots storm into the area with "gunshots...whistles...screams...[and] snarling dogs." One street at a time, the ghetto is emptied, and the people are loaded into the boxcars. Word spreads that there is a quota: five thousand Jews must be deported every day. The people cling to the desperate hope that they will be taken to a place far better than the squalid environment to which they have been confined. One by one, the homeless boys disappear, and then it is Doctor Korczak's orphans' turn to be taken away on the train. The good doctor leads the way, as the children march forth with heads held high, singing.

One day an old man appears in the courtyard, claiming to have come back from where the Jews are being taken in the boxcars. He tells a horrific tale of "fences that fry...prison coops...ovens...[and] ashes fall[ing] like snow." Mr. Milgrom, who has known all along that his daughter has been continuing to smuggle, urgently tells Misha that the next time they go to the other side of the wall, he is to take Janina and run with her as far away as he can. Misha tries, but Janina refuses to obey and fights him furiously. Defeated, Misha returns with her back to the room, night after night, until it is too late.

On that last night, Misha and...

(The entire section is 749 words.)