Elie Wiesel's Night

	 Elie Wiesel's Night
"For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and

death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the

face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still

red, his eyes were not yet glazed. Behind me I heard [a] man asking: Where

is God now?"
The suffering of this child being hanged is comparable to the suffering

endured by many Jews during the holocaust. This quotation is found in just

one of many heart wrenching scenes found in Night, a biography of the

holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel. Wiesel stayed quiet about the holocaust for

ten years and his reasoning for this was, "I didn?t want to use the wrong

words. I was afraid the words might betray it." This also may account for

the fact that some of the sentences found in Night are very wordy and often

are overwhelming to the reader because of the amount of significance found in

each. This flaw, though, is very forgivable under the circumstances.

Besides for the brilliant descriptions found in Night and the feeling that

you were walking in Elie?s shoes, if he literally had any, Night opens the

readers mind to the

atrocities of the holocaust and concentration camps. We take for granted,

today, our knowledge of knowing how many Jews were killed by the Nazi?s and

having a general idea of the kind of life people led in the concentration

camps. People never really stop to think about what it must have felt like

not knowing what was going on or what was going to happen next. Wiesel

illustrates this very clearly at the beginning of his autobiography. He shows

the reaction of the townspeople when they first heard

of Hitler and German troops and the optimistic approach they ecided to take on

life. This technique of taking the reader to

life before the ghettos and the concentration camps is very

interesting and unique. Before reaching about the middle of the

novel, the beginning may not really be appreciated. The reader

probably will not realize how much greater the effect is on

him/her until he/she notices how much life has changed for

Wiesel and the rest of the Jews and how unexpected this change

was. Night shows the progression of an innocent twelve year old

boy who?s days were composed of studying the Talmud turn into a

?corpse.? The German forces are so adept at breaking the

spirits of the Jews that we can see the effects throughout the


Elie?s faith in God, above all other things, is strong at

the onset of the novel, but grows weaker as time goes on. On

the day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, thousands of men

came to attend services. Thousands of voices repeated, "Blessed

be the Name of the Eternal!" Eliezer thought, "Why, but why

should I bless Him? Because he had thousands of children burned

in his pits?? How could I say to Him: "Blessed art thou,

Eternal, Master of the Universe, Who chose us from among the

races to be tortured day and night? Praised be Thy Holy Name,

Thou Who hast chosen us to be butchered on Thine altar?"

Many instances throughout this novel show how desensitized

people became in the concentration camps. In order to survive

this was a necessity. Every week in Buna there was a selection

process. The weak were sent to the ovens and the strong

continued on. A friend of Elie?s did not pass the selection one

week and all he asked as he walked away was, "In three days?

say the Kaddish for me." They promised that in three days when

they saw the smoke rising they would think of him but three days

came and three days passed and no one recited the Kaddish.

At one point in the novel the camp that Elie and his

father were residing in was forced to transfer to Gleiwitz. It

was painfully cold weather and ?the snow fell relentlessly.? A

scene that secured itself in Elie?s memory is that of Rabbi

Eliahou running beside his son when he begins to grow tired and

slowly starts to fall behind. His son pretends not to even see

what is happening to his father and keeps on running. Elie

makes a promise to himself that he will always be there for his

father, even if it is the cause of his death. Later in the

novel, though, it gets harder and harder for Elie to keep this

promise, especially when his father becomes very ill.

Unlike many books written on the holocaust that may just

list facts or jump around from person to person, Night is

written in a first person narration form. The reader not only

goes everywhere with Eliezer but also knows every thought that

runs through his head. Although, at times, it is a very

terrifying book to read, it is also very valuable. This

biography leaves the reader with an "unforgettable message that

this horror must never be allowed to happen again."

Elie Wiesel's Night 9.4 of 10 on the basis of 2171 Review.