Night by Elie Wiesel

By: Sara Weaver


"Night" by Elie Wiesel is a memoir about Elie Wiesel's life in concentration camps durning the Holocaust. The year is 1941 when Elie, the deeply religious boy with a family of three sisters, a mom, and a dad, is taken from his home in Sighet, Transylvania and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Elie and his mom and sisters are separated almost immediately upon arrival, but he remains with his father. Through their perilous journey, Elie tells about death of family members, the death of his own innocence, and suffering to a point in which life and death no longer matter.

About the Author

Elie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania (later Romania). He was a Jewish boy that was forced to relocate to Nazi concentration camps in World War II. He was 15 years old when his experience at Auschwitz occurred. he was ultimately freed from Buchenwald in 1945. Only he and two of his sisters survived.

After he was freed, Wiesel went on to study at the Sorbonne in France from 1948 to 1951. He took up journalism and he wrote for French and Israeli Publications. His friend pushed him to write about his experiences in the camps, so eventually Wiesel gave in and wrote "Night".

Elie Wiesel is a world activist. He's spoken out against injustices perpetrated in an array of countries, including South Africa, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Rwanda. He was honored with the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honor's Grand Croix. In the mid 1970's, Wiesel was appointed as Boston University's Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities. He taught Judaic studies at the City University of New York and served as a visiting scholar at Yale. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, and he founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity with his wife, Marion Wiesel.

"Night" by Elie Wiesel was originally published in Yiddish as "And the World Would Remain Silent" in 1956. It was shortened and published as "Night" for English readers and as "La Nuit" for the French readers in 1960. Night became an acclaimed bestseller, was translated into many languages, and was considered a seminal work on the terrors of the Holocaust.

Significant Quotes

"Never shall I forget night, the first nigh in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.

Never shall I forget that smoke.

Never shall i forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.

Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.

Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.

Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God." (Wiesel, 32)

"Once more, the last night. The last night at home, the last night in the ghetto, the last night in the cattle car, and, now, the last night in Buna. How much longer would our lives be lived from "last night" to the next?"

(Wiesel, 83)

"The idea of dying, of ceasing to be, began to fascinate me. To no longer exist. To no longer feel the excruciating pain of my foot. To no longer feel anything, neither fatigue nor cold, nothing. To break rank, to let myself slide to the side of the road..."

(Wiesel, 86)

His Purpose

I think that he wrote it to tell his story, to keep the memories of those lose alive, and to make sure nothing of this nature ever occurs again . I think he believes that is his duty as one of very few survivors.

Major Themes

  • loss of faith
  • father-son relationships
  • inhumanity towards other humans

Personal Reaction and Recommendation

I really enjoyed this book. I read it 2 years ago in 8th grade and I like it then, but I understood more of it this time around. I noticed things that I missed or didn't understand the first time.

I would recommend this book to anyone 13+ because its a great story, but there are some gruesome, devastating parts to the story that aren't appropriate for younger ages and there are some fairly difficult words all throughout the book.