What does “hermetically sealed” mean from the book Night?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In the book "Night," the term "hermetically sealed" refers to the conditions that Jews were subjected to while being transported to concentration camps during the Holocaust. The phrase describes the airtight and completely sealed cattle cars that the Jews were crammed into for days on end. The lack of fresh air and ventilation made the conditions inside the cars unbearable and led to many deaths due to suffocation, dehydration, and heat stroke.
Detailed answer:

In the book Night by Elie Wiesel, the term "hermetically sealed" is used to describe the horrific conditions that Jews faced during their transportation to concentration camps in Nazi Germany. The cattle cars used to transport the Jews were sealed airtight, leaving no source of oxygen. This meant that the Jews were packed into the cars like sardines and were forced to endure the scorching heat and suffocating air for days on end, without access to food, water, or fresh air.

The term "hermetically sealed" is a metaphor for the inhumane and cruel conditions that the Jews were subjected to during the Holocaust. The word "hermetic" is derived from the name of the Greek god Hermes, who was believed to have magical powers to seal and protect containers. In the context of the Holocaust, the use of the term "hermetically sealed" emphasizes the deliberate and calculated nature of the Nazi's persecution of the Jews.

The conditions in the cattle cars were so horrific that many Jews died before even reaching their destination. The lack of fresh air and ventilation caused people to suffocate or die from heat exhaustion. The stench of death and disease was overwhelming, and the desperate cries of the dying filled the air. It is estimated that over six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, and the use of the term "hermetically sealed" serves as a haunting reminder of the inhumanity and brutality of this dark chapter in human history.

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