Study Guide

Night Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

  • At Buchenwald, Eliezer and his father go to take a hot shower. But there are so many prisoners crowding around the baths that his father goes to lie down in some snow. He says he’s tired and Eliezer can wake him when it’s their turn.
  • Eliezer refuses to let his father sit down and rest because he sees the ground covered in corpses who tried to do just what his dad wants—to rest and give in to death.
  • They are sent to the barracks to sleep. When Eliezer wakes up, he realizes he lost his dad in the confusion to enter the blocks.
  • Momentarily Eliezer wishes that his father would die so Eliezer would only have to look over himself (this is just like Rabbi Eliahu’s son), but he immediately feels ashamed.
  • Eliezer searches for his father for hours but can’t find him. He prays for a minute: "Don’t let me find him." Then he feels guilty.
  • At last Eliezer finds his father at the block where they are giving out coffee. He’s burning with fever and he just wants a drop of coffee. He’s calling out his son’s name.
  • Eliezer brings him some coffee and later gives his father some of his own soup ration.
  • Eliezer keeps him alive for days, but his father has dysentery. Eliezer no longer thinks his dad will survive.
  • Eliezer takes his father to the doctor, but is turned away because the doctor is a surgeon and not concerned with dysentery.
  • The men in the neighboring bunks hit Eliezer’s dad when Eliezer is out. Eliezer tries threatening the men, then he promises them soup and bread if they will just leave his dad alone. They laugh at him.
  • The block leader tells Eliezer that he should stop taking care of his father—here in the concentration camps, it’s every man for himself. Eliezer feels guilty that he even considers this.
  • An SS officer hears Eliezer’s father moaning, "Eliezer, a drop of water." The SS delivers a blow to his head.
  • Eliezer stays awake with his dying father for a while, as his father moans, "Eliezer." But eventually, Eliezer goes to bed.
  • In the morning, his father’s body is gone. Eliezer hopes that his father wasn’t taken to the crematorium before he stopped breathing.
  • Eliezer cannot cry, which disturbs him. But he knows that if he searched his mind, what he would find is the feeling—"free at last!"

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