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Quotes

Quote #7

"Your age?" he [Dr. Mengele] asked, perhaps trying to sound paternal.

"I’m eighteen." My voice was trembling.

"In good health?"

"Yes."

"Your profession?"

Tell him that I was a student?

"Farmer," I heard myself saying.

[…]

The baton pointed to the left. (3.37-46)

Eliezer lies to make himself seem older and a more able worker. Because of this, he passes selection and isn’t sent to the crematorium. Again we see that the young, old, and weak are killed, whereas those able to work are kept alive.

Quote #8

Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this with my own eyes … children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me?) (3.52)

Those that the Germans see as unfit for manual labor are killed.

Quote #9

His voice was terribly sad. I understood that he did not wish to see what they would to do to me. He did not wish to see his only son go up in flames.

My forehead was covered with cold sweat. Still, I told him that I could not believe that human beings were being burned in our times; the world would never tolerate such crimes …

"The world? The world is not interested in us. Today everything is possible, even the crematoria …" His voice broke.

"Father," I said. "If that is true, then I don’t want to wait. I’ll run into the electrified barbed wire. That would be easier than a slow death in the flames." (3.57-60)

Eliezer’s father seems most scared of confronting his son’s mortality. Eliezer, too, thinks some kinds of death are better than others – he would rather electrocute himself than be forced to die in a crematorium.

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