Maus: A Survivor's Tale Book II, Chapter 3 Summary
…And Here My Troubles Began
The next morning, Art and Françoise wake up to find Vladek at the kitchen table, counting out his crackers.
Art and Françoise drive Vladek to the local grocery store. During the ride, Vladek recounts his last days in Auschwitz. Art asks Vladek if he knew of the Jews who revolted against the SS. Vladek remembers that they were assisted by friends of Anja’s, who were left to hang by his workshop.
Vladek and his friends plan to hide out in an attic when the other Jews are taken to Germany. The day finally comes when the last of the Jews are being taken into Germany. Vladek and his friends hide in the attic, but then another friend barges in, exclaiming that they are planning to explode the block. Vladek and his friends rush to join the other Jews.
The march to Gross-Rosen, in Germany, is brutal. Many people die of exhaustion or are beaten or shot to death. From Gross-Rosen, the prisoners are packed into cattle cars. Vladek is able to get some relief by hanging a spare cloth from the ceiling as a kind of hammock. More prisoners die, and the cars get emptier and emptier. They get some brief relief when the Red Cross gives them a package of food, but then they are packed back into the cars and taken to Dachau.
Vladek’s story breaks off as they stop by the Shop-Rite. Through the windows, Art and Françoise watch as Vladek argues with the store manager, trying to return some groceries that Mala had left behind.
At Dachau, the conditions are even worse. The prisoners are kept in barracks, which are filled with straw infested with lice, which carried typhus. Vladek got some relief by injuring his hand, and being taken to the hospital where conditions were better. Vladek makes friends with a Frenchman, and they practice their English together. Finally, Vladek leaves Dachau with other prisoners on a train to Switzerland.
Here, the story is interrupted when Françoise stops the car for a hitchhiker, who is black. Vladek can’t believe Françoise stopped for a black man, and Françoise reproaches Vladek for being a racist, especially after all that he’s been through.
They finally arrive home at the bungalow for lunch.