"I stood petrified. What had happened to me? My father had just been struck, in front of me, and I had not even blinked. I had watched and kept silent. Only yesterday, I would have dug my nails into this criminal's flesh. Had I changed that much? So fast? Remorse began to gnaw at me." 

As the prisoners from Birkenau move into new barracks at Auschwitz’s main camp, Eliezer watches a veteran inmate beat his father in response to a polite question. This moment marks one of the first instances in which Eliezer witnesses someone target and attack his father specifically. Although he does not physically react to this violence, the fact that Eliezer feels significant guilt about his inaction suggests that his feelings toward his father act as a gauge of his overall moral compass. He has not lost his sense of empathy despite his tragic circumstances.

"I had no right to let myself die. What would he do without me? I was his sole support."

Eliezer comes to this definite conclusion as he, his father, and the rest of the prisoners from Buna run through heavy snow on their way to Gleiwitz. In this moment where death seems so tempting, Eliezer reminds himself that his death would surely lead to his father’s death, an outcome which he yearns to prevent at all costs. This realization emphasizes the power that familial bonds can have in the face of adversity, but it also reveals that the power dynamics within a father-son bond go both ways. Both Eliezer and his father are caretakers for each other.

"And Meir Katz, the strong one, the sturdiest of us all, began to cry. His son had been taken from him during the first selection but only now was he crying for him. Only now did he fall apart. He could not go on. He had reached the end." 

Meir Katz, a friend of Eliezer’s father, breaks down during their attempts to flee the Front and releases his pent-up emotions regarding the death of his son. Eliezer makes a point to emphasize Meir Katz’s tenacity, a point which highlights that breaking a father-son bond can destroy even the strongest of men. Eliezer and his father make it off of the train in Buchenwald together, but Meir Katz dies alone. Showing the impact of such a bond between another father-son pair also suggests that the strength found in family solidarity extends beyond the scope of Eliezer’s own experiences. 

"But I had neither the courage nor the strength. I was riveted to my father's agony. My hands were aching, I was clenching them so hard. To strangle the doctor and the others! To set the whole world on fire! My father's murderers! But even the cry stuck in my throat." 

In their final days together, Eliezer finds himself desperately trying to save his ailing father’s life. Watching the doctors’ complete disregard for his father’s pain causes Eliezer significant pain as well, a connection which emphasizes just how closely the experiences of father and son have become linked in the face of such suffering. This almost violent response, however, also offers an example of how a family bond can be empowering. Although Eliezer does not act on any of these aggressive thoughts, the fact that he experiences them at all suggests that he is still capable of mustering strength.