Memoir Project- "Night"

By Josh Fink

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Author, Elie Wiesel

Birthplace: Sighet, Transylvania (later named Romania)

Date of Birth: September 30, 1928

Education: Pursued Jewish studies before being forced into a concentration camp during WWII at the age of 15. After being released from the concentration camp in 1945, he went on to study journalism for 3 years in France.

Career Background: After surviving the holocaust, Wiesel went on to become an author. After a ten year period of not speaking about his experiences at the holocaust, he wrote the memoir "Night", followed by 2 more novels called "Dawn" and "Day". These novels formed a trilogy looking at mankind's destruction, which kick started Wiesel's writing career. He went on to write many more books.

Awards/ Honors: Wiesel has won many awards over his time. The notable ones include the Novel Peace Prize in 1986, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1985, and the Presidential medal of Freedom.

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Holocaust Overview

Wiesel writes about his experiences during the holocaust, in which Adolf Hitler, the leader of Germany, transformed the German people to believe the Jews were the cause of all their problems. Therefore, Hitler proposed a plan to kill all the Jews, which was the main reason for the start of WWII. The German army forced Jews into concentration camps, in which the Jews were either killed or put through harsh labor. Hitler and his army ended up being responsible for the death of over 5.5 million Jews.

Night Summary

Eliezer is a 15 year old boy living in Sighet, Transylvania in which he is a student of the Jewish religion. Eliezer and his family are captured by the German Army and are forced onto packed trains in which they are transported to concentration camps. There Eliezer and his father are separated from the rest of their family, never to see them again. The memoir explains Eliezer and his fathers experience at the concentration camps during the holocaust. Eliezer explains his experiences, mental and physical pain, struggle of faith, and nightmares for memories that he still deals with today. The book shows the horrible experiences the Jews were put through, and truly shows the world isn't perfect. Yet, the book also shows a son that will die for his father, and a young boy willing to do anything to survive, and an ultimate test of faith.


“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”

-This quote explains that even when people die, they are still to be remembered. If a person dies and is forgotten, it's like killing them again.

“I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.”

-Wiesel was a very spiritual person, and while praying he asked of God to give him the strength to ask the right questions, which often was tough to understand.

“His cold eyes stared at me. At last, he said wearily: "I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.”

-This quote is from a Jew Eliezer speaks with while at the concentration camp. When asked about his faith, this Jew shows that Hitler is the only one that has kept his promises.

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Writers Purpose

Wiesel struggled for 10 years to speak about the holocaust; it scarred him for life. Therefore, Wiesel had a strong calling or purpose to write this book even though it is tough to look back on his experiences. The authors purpose in writing this memoir is truly to show the readers that nothing like the holocaust should ever happen again. He shares his experiences to imply how imperfect this world really is. The book explains not everything will work out as planned, but how you overcome circumstances is what really matters. The novel wasn't to have the readers feel sorry for Wiesel, it was to warn them so that a holocaust type of experience will never happen again.


There are multiple themes involved in the novel . The first theme is that the world is imperfect. This is easily showed throughout the novel by what the Jews are put through. The next theme is that family comes first. Eliezer is willing to die for his father, and he sticks with him 'till the end. Another theme is that faith isn't easy, it is tested. Wiesel and the other Jews were put through the ultimate test of faith, for their only hope was The Lord.



"Not Knowing"

by Josh Fink

I sit there in the cold of the night,

dead bodies in sight

my father on his death bed,

that picture in my mind I dread

As his eyes close,

his soul goes to heaven.

I'm on my own now,

that I know

but everything else,

is lost in the snow

I don't know why people could be this cruel

I don't know why The Lord won't take mercy

I don't know why there is no hope

I don't know why this happening

I sit there, in the cold of the night,

not knowing.

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Personal Reaction/ Recommendation

I highly respect Elie Wiesel. He has been through a lot of tough times, but is a strong man and is willing to share to others so they can learn. Through his novel, I've learned to keep family first, how to deal with adversity, and that God truly has a plan for everyone of us. Wiesel was put through all sorts of adversity, yet he overcame it. He's a man to look up to.

I recommend this book to readers that can take the thought of death. Not only does it show what the holocaust was like, it shows the physical and mental struggles the Jews were put through. I recommend researching the holocuast before reading, so the reader can get a feel of what was going on and why.