Death marches were the forcible movements of prisoners between camps, often on pain of death. Ernst describes in vivid detail the anxiety and desperation during these marches and how the weak fell by the roadside or were killed.
Ernst Bornstein’s Family
Ernst’s family values and religious beliefs are writ large in The Long Night. Share the desperate sadness he feels during his final moments with members of his family.
The Nazis exploited the forced labour of “enemies of the state” for economic gain. Labour shortages in the German war economy became critical especially after the German defeat in the battle of Stalingrad in 1942-1943. Hundreds of camps were established in or near industrial plants. The ability to work could save one’s life, but most often only temporarily.
Ernst details the agonising torment of constant hunger and describes skeletal humans and how the desperation for food was suppressed by fear of punishment.
Ernst describes the self-importance of the Kapos (a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labour or carry out administrative tasks) and the role they played in camp, during death marches and when transporting prisoners from one camp to another.
Sabbath and Festivals
Details of how holy days including Yom Kippur, Shavuot and Passover were marked from the start of the war and during imprisonment. How the fear of being discovered and punished led to silent prayer and Ernst questioning his faith.