How we cite our quotes:
One day when Idek was venting his fury, I happened to cross his path. He threw himself on me like a wild beast, beating me in the chest, on my head, throwing me to the ground and picking me up again, crushing me with ever more violent blows, until I was covered in blood. As I bit my lips in order not to howl with pain, he must have mistaken my silence for defiance and so he continued to hit me harder and harder.
Abruptly, he calmed down and sent me back to work as if nothing had happened. As if we had taken part in a game in which both roles were of equal importance. (4.64-65)
The men in control can afford to be violent simply because they happen to be angry and want to lash out at something. It’s senseless violence that serves no purpose.
I stepped forward.
"A crate!" he ordered.
They brought a crate.
"Lie down on it! On your belly!"
I no longer felt anything except the lashes of the whip.
It was over. I had not realized it, but I had fainted. I came to when they doused me with cold water. I was still lying on the crate. In a blur, I could see the wet ground next to me. Then I heard someone yell. It had to be the Kapo. I began to distinguish what he was shouting:
"Listen to me, you son of a swine!" said Idek coldly. "So much for your curiosity. You shall receive five times more if you dare tell anyone what you saw! Understood?" (4.117-140)
Idek, the Kapo, uses violence as a threat to keep Eliezer silent after having watched Idek have sex with a Polish girl.
"In the name of Reichsführer Himmler … prisoner number … stole during the air raid … according to the law … prisoner number … is condemned to death. Let this be a warning and an example to all prisoners." (4.172)
The German SS officers use public hanging and the threat of death to keep the prisoners frightened and submissive.