The scene returns to the LSE. One day Reinhold Zucker takes Hans's seat in the truck just to start a conflict, but Hans lets him keep it. A few minutes later the truck crashes and rolls over several times. Some of the men are injured and Hans breaks his leg, and Reinhold Zucker is killed. The men get out and survey the damage, and Hans realizes that he should have been the one killed instead of Reinhold. The sergeant likes Hans because he shared his cigarettes, so he lets him be sent back home to work in an office.
The theme of chaotic fate continues. It seems random that Hans should live and Reinhold should die because of a feud at cards or a simple seat switch, but it fits with other situations in the novel, like Hans surviving World War I by writing letters, and Michael Holtzapfel living while his brother died. This is an extremely fortunate outcome for Hans, though.