Elie’s relationship with his father changes over time. At first, the only reason that he didn’t give up in the camps is so that his father wouldn’t be alone. He says so himself when he admits that “my fathers presence was the only thing that stopped me……what would he do without me” (82). This relationship deteriorates however as the book progresses. He begins to view his father as a burden and a weakness. He abandons his father and then ignores him as he dies in the hospital.
Another disturbing situation between father and son occurs on the train on the way to Buchenwald. An elderly man sneaks away from a mob that is fighting for bread with a piece under his shirt. He is attacked by his own son and is killed all the while with an extra piece for his son. This event portrays how the ravenous hunger experienced by these people caused them to do drastic things just for survival.
In conclusion, the relationships between father and son are very prominent in this novel. Most relationships are bad due to the survival instinct and the terrible conditions experienced by the Jews. This just proves that hunger and abuse can send the best friends at each others throats.