| Quote #4
Suddenly, someone threw his arms round me in a hug: Yechiel, the Sigheter rebbe’s brother. He was weeping bitterly. I thought he was crying with joy at still being alive.
Because of the suffering Eliezer has endured, he’s so exhausted that he can no longer feel normal human emotion, like fear and sadness.
| Quote #5
In a few seconds, we had ceased to be men. Had the situation not been so tragic, we might have laughed. We looked pretty strange! Meir Katz, a colossus, wore a child’s pants, and Stern, a skinny little fellow, was floundering in a huge jacket. We immediately started to switch.
Within one night the concentration camp experience has completely altered Eliezer’s identity, as well as the identities of his fellow Jews. Shaven and dressed in the same prison garb, the men have been stripped of the individuality they formerly had. In addition, Eliezer’s identity has further changed because he has lost his innocence, is no longer a child, and has lost his faith in God’s justice. He can no longer define himself as either a "child" or a "student of Talmud;" now he is simply a prisoner.
| Quote #6
My father suddenly had a colic attack. He got up and asked politely, in German, "Excuse me … Could you tell me where the toilets are located?"
The man in charge of Eliezer and his father’s unit, despite Eliezer’s father’s polite address, is unable to view him as a fellow human, and feels justified in beating him. The "gypsy" degrades Eliezer’s father and turns him into the animal he is seen as by the prison guards, beating him until he crawls on all fours. The concentration camp environment is gradually eroding away Eliezer’s humanity as well, his feelings of anger at the "gypsy" are delayed – self-preservation instincts are already beginning to overwhelm more human emotions.