Section 6 Summary
As the prisoners walk through the night, the snow and the cold become overwhelming. The SS guards force them to run faster, which Elie sees positively as a means to get warm. He drags his skeletal body forward, feeling that it weighs much more than it does. By his side runs Zalman, a young Polish boy from the electrical warehouse. He is overcome with stomach cramps. When he stops to relieve himself, his is trampled to death by the prisoners. Elie now fears that his wounded foot will cause him to stumble and face a similar fate. It is only his father’s presence that keeps him going.
By morning they run forty-two miles. They come to a deserted village and stop at a warehouse. Cramming into the building, they find that the snow covers the inside as well as out. Elie lies down to sleep but his father pulls him up, afraid that he will freeze to death in the snow. They go outside only to find corpses in the snow. Stepping over them, the father and son find a place to sit down inside a shed. Mr. Wiesel wants Elie to sleep some, with him keeping guard to prevent him from freezing. Two other friends had done the same thing. One is dead; the other falls asleep, certain to die as well.
An old man, Rabbi Eliahou, comes into the shed, looking for his son. They had stayed together for three years, moving from camp to camp. Elie says that he has not seen him. When the rabbi leaves, Elie suddenly remembers that he did indeed see his son, running ahead of his father. Elie is horrified that the son was trying to outdistance the father, whom he felt was soon to die and did not want to be bothered with him. Elie prays to the God in whom he no...
(The entire section is 467 words.)