The train goes on through the night. When light comes, Eliezer is unable to tell who is alive and who is dead in the car, including his father. Eliezer feels there is no reason to live.
Night, again, serves as a literal and symbolic time of despair.
The car stops in a field and SS soldiers shout at the people in the cars to throw out their dead. People in the car look for the dead, take their clothes and push them out. When two men try to take his father, Eliezer snaps out of his daze and slaps his father until his father's eyelids begin to move. Twenty bodies are thrown out of the car.
The Jews on the train are so beaten down that not only are they willing to strip clothing from the dead, they don't even make much effort to determine whether someone really is dead before trying to take his clothing and throwing him from the train.
The train trip seems to last an eternity. The train moves slowly and the people are not fed—they eat snow to stay alive. They pass through German towns where Germans watch them. One day a German worker throws a piece of bread into a car to watch the people fight each other to the death for it.
Ordinary Germans—not just prison guards or soldiers—also treat the Jews like animals, amusing themselves by pitting the desperate, starving, dying Jews against each other.
Other workmen watch this spectacle, and begin to drop pieces of bread from their lunches into different cars to observe the starving prisoners fight for them. When a piece is dropped in his car Eliezer doesn't fight for it, but sees a younger man beat up his own father for it. The old man dies, and then the son is set upon and killed before he can swallow the bread.
The prisoners have lost their humanity. Here a son not only abandons his father in order to survive, as the Rabbi's son did earlier, but actually kills his father for a piece of bread.
A man named Meir Katz saves Eliezer's life when someone tries to strangle him. One of the most vigorous men left, Meir Katz is put in charge of the train car, but he breaks down and weeps for his son who was taken at the first selection. He can't go on any longer. He wonders why the Nazis don't just shoot them. The train arrives at Buchenwald late at night and the living disembark. Meir Katz stays with the dead on the train.
In trying to stay alive, the prisoners for the most part don't seem to allow themselves to grieve. But at the limits of his physical endurance, Meir Katz at last begins to grieve for the murder of his son. He gives up on life, and lets death come for him.