Night by Elie Wiesel
By: Sara Weaver
About the Author
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.
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?"
"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..."
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.
- loss of faith
- father-son relationships
- inhumanity towards other humans
Fire appears throughout Night as a symbol of the Nazis’ cruel power. On the way to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Madame Schächter receives a vision of fire that serves as a premonition of the horror to come. Eliezer also sees the Nazis burning babies in a ditch. Most important, fire is the agent of destruction in the crematoria, where many meet their death at the hands of the Nazis.
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The Bible begins with God’s creation of the earth. When God first begins his creation, the earth is “without form, and void; and darkness [is] upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2, King James Version). God’s first act is to create light and dispel this darkness. Darkness and night therefore symbolize a world without God’s presence. In Night, Wiesel exploits this allusion. Night always occurs when suffering is worst, and its presence reflects Eliezer’s belief that he lives in a world without God. The first time Eliezer mentions that “[n]ight fell” is when his father is interrupted while telling stories and informed about the deportation of Jews. Similarly, it is night when Eliezer first arrives at Birkenau/Auschwitz, and it is night—specifically “pitch darkness”—when the prisoners begin their horrible run from Buna.
Personal Reaction and Recommendation
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.