"A pause. He was observing the effect his words had produced. His face remains in my memory to this day. A tall man, in his thirties, crime written all over his forehead and his gaze. He looked at us as one would a pack of leprous dogs clinging to life."

Eliezer meets this unnamed SS officer after arriving at Auschwitz’s main camp. The fact that the officer takes interest in “the effect his words had produced” highlights his extremely manipulative character, one which seems to take pleasure in inflicting pain on others. The metaphor that Eliezer uses to describe the officer’s gaze also highlights his inherent inhumanity as he considers the prisoners as if they were diseased and deformed dogs. Although the wording itself comes from Eliezer’s narration, the use of dehumanizing language in relation to the officer’s attitude suggests that he rejects the humanity of his prisoners. 

"Idek was on edge, he had trouble restraining himself. Suddenly, he exploded. The victim this time was my father…And he began beating him with an iron bar. At first, my father simply doubled over under the blows, but then he seemed to break in two like an old tree struck by lightning." 

Idek, a man known for his aggressive outbursts, is a Kapo and is in charge of Eliezer’s work unit in Buna. In this scene, Eliezer watches as Idek unleashes his anger on Shlomo, an act which reveals a particularly brutal side of human nature. The fact that Eliezer describes his father as appearing to “break in two like an old tree” also highlights the way in which this attack dehumanizes the victim. Idek strips Eliezer’s father of his humanity in this moment by treating him like an object on which he can exert violence.

"The SS made us increase our pace. ‘Faster, you tramps, you flea-ridden dogs!’…They had orders to shoot anyone who could not sustain the pace. Their fingers on the triggers, they did not deprive themselves of the pleasure. If one of us stopped for a second, a quick shot eliminated the filthy dog." 

As the prisoners march through the snow during their evacuation from Buna, Eliezer hears SS officers describe them as “tramps” and “flea-ridden dogs,” terms which emphasize the lack of regard for their humanity. The fact that the officers take pleasure in shooting those who are weak and struggling also highlights the extremeness of their dehumanizing gaze. Not only will they degrade and berate those who they deem inferior to themselves, but they will readily eliminate those lives altogether.

"In the wagon where the bread had landed, a battle had ensued. Men were hurling themselves against each other, trampling, tearing at and mauling each other. Beasts of prey unleashed, animal hate in their eyes. An extraordinary vitality possessed them, sharpening their teeth and nails." 

This scene occurs when a German laborer tosses a crust of bread into a passing train car full of prisoners on its way from Gleiwitz to central Germany. While earlier moments in the novel highlight the ways in which the Nazis and camp officers dehumanize the prisoners, the fight over bread extends the notion of inhumane behavior to the prisoners themselves. These men have essentially become the thing that their captors viciously treated them as: non-humans. The animalistic language in this passage works to emphasize the dominance of survival instincts over any form of human compassion.