The Devil's Arithmetic

What are the Jews imagining/fearing during this terrible journey?

Chapter 9-10

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While riding on the train, a man announces that he can see a village ahead with peasants by the tracks. The passengers scream for help. The man states that the peasants merely run their fingers across their throats in a slashing motion. They do not care. Shmuel asks if they ever did care. Another man says he has heard stories of Jews being relocated to Russia where they were forced to lie down and were slaughtered by soldiers. Other horrific stories emerge, but they are quickly dismissed as gossip and simple stories, although many of the passengers believe they are traveling to their deaths.