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Chapter 2 Notes from Night

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Night Chapter 2

In the crowded cattle wagon, the Jews are treated like caged animals. Free from social constraint, young people flirt in the darkness. Others relieve themselves as they please. A German officer orders the Jews to give up their valuables. He adds that if anyone is missing, they will all be shot like dogs. The train ride is a taste of what's to come: "The doors were nailed up; the way back was finally cut off. The world was a cattle wagon hermetically sealed." Chapter 2, pg. 22

During the night journey, Madame Schachter, a woman of about fifty with a ten-year-old son, starts to go out of her mind. By the third day of the trip, she yells, "Fire! I can see a fire! I can see a fire!" (Chapter 2, pg. 22) Although the others try to calm her down, she continues to shout about the fire, flames, and furnace. Her screams, along with the darkness, the stench, and lack of air, make the others fear for the worst. In order to quiet her down, the young men resort to hitting her. After a long, harrowing trip the train reaches the last station. The Jews discover that it is Auschwitz, a labor camp. They are told that the conditions are good and that families will not be separated. The Jews give thanks to God. While they wait in the train, Madame Schachter again begins to point and scream about the fire, flames, and furnace. The others look, but all they see is darkness. Ashamed that they had even momentarily believed her, the Jews go back to their places. To quiet her, Madame Schachter is dealt more blows. As the train enters the camp, they forget about the existence of Madame Schachter, who has retreated to a corner. But as the train pulls in, they notice the flames and the smell of burning flesh. The place is Birkenau, the reception center for Auschwitz.

Topic Tracking: Night 3
Topic Tracking: Memory 2

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