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Stein

Character Analysis

Stein, Eliezer’s cousin by marriage, wants nothing more than news of his family. Eliezer lies to Stein, telling him that his wife (Reizel) and children are fine. Eliezer’s lie allows Stein to find the will to live; Stein has no desire to survive unless his family is well. Though we don’t know for sure, we presume that Stein dies when he gets the real news—the news that his family is dead. Stein is one of the few characters who preserves his humanity in the concentration camp setting; rather than sinking wholly into self-preservation mode, he thinks constantly of family, gives away his food to Eliezer, and provides Eliezer and his father with advice on staying alive. However, because he has not hardened himself against his emotions, he can’t live without his family.

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