For this reason, Night chronicles and emphasizes the set of lucky circumstances that led to the survival of one among many. The memoir is filled with bizarre coincidences. Years after the Holocaust, Eliezer randomly meets the woman who gave him comfort in Buna. In Gleiwitz, Eliezer once again meets Juliek. Eliezer’s teacher, Moshe the Beadle , somehow escapes the Nazis and returns to Sighet to convey to the town an unheeded warning. Perhaps the most bizarre coincidence of all is Eliezer’s survival. He is fortunate enough, on his arrival in Birkenau, to meet a man who tells him to lie about his age. Despite Eliezer’s small size, he does not succumb to cold or exhaustion and is not chosen in any of the selections, though many who are healthier than he is are sent to the gas chambers.
A particularly imaginative reaction to the slow movement came from the great English novelist and Beethoven admirer . Forster, who in his 1935 essay Wordmaking and Sound-taking observes: “It strikes and strokes immediately, and elderly gentlemen before myself have called it ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ What about Orpheus and the Furies, though? When the movement begins I always repair to the entrance of Hell and descend under the guidance of Gluck through diminishing opposition to the Elysian Fields…. The piano turns into Orpheus, and the strings, waving less and less their snaky locks, sink at last into acquiescence with true love.”
Schindler, Beethoven’s self-appointed secretary in his later years, reported that he took a portfolio of Schubert songs in handwritten copies to Beethoven a month before the composer died, and on leafing through them Beethoven is said to have exclaimed: ‘Truly, in this Schubert there dwells a divine spark!’. The story is lent credibility by the survival of a portfolio of songs from Schindler’s effects, now bound and in the Taussig Collection in Lund, Sweden, which is possibly the very one which Schindler assembled for Beethoven’s perusal. 20