Night By Elie Wiesel (1247 words) Essay

Night By Elie Wiesel
Night, By Elie Wiesel is a devastatingly true story about one man’s witness to
the genocide of his own people. Living through the horrifying experiences in the
German concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Elie sees his family,
friends and fellow Jews starved, degraded, and murdered. In this essay I will
address three important topics expressed throughout the course of the book.

First, I will discuss the struggle and eventual loss of religious faith by Elie
in his battle to maintain humanity in this de-humanizing environment, and what
ultimately enabled him to survive. Second, I will show the established
relationship between Elie and his father, and the impact life in the camp had
upon it. And finally, give my personal opinion on why Elie Wiesel wrote this
book. One of the main topics in this book is how Elie, a boy of strong religious
faith, as well as many Jews lose their faith in God because of the atrocities
that take place in the concentration camps. Elie Wiesel lived his early
childhood in the town of Transylvania, in Hungary, during the early 1940’s. At
a young age Elie took a strong interest in Jewish religion as he spent most of
his time studying the Talmud. Eventually he comes across Moshe the Beadle, who
would take him under his wing and instruct him more in depth of the ways of the
Talmud and cabbala. Through Moshe’s instruction, he is taught to question God
for answers. Later Moshe is sent away to a camp and upon his return to Sighet
presents the reader with a foreshadowing of what will soon come in the book.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Night By Elie Wiesel (1247 words) Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

Elie recalls, “Moshe had changed….He no longer talked to me of God or the
cabbala, but only of what he had seen.”(4) Thus right away the reader is
exposed a loss of religious faith in Moshe, the same loss that will soon plague
Elie. When Elie arrives at Birkenau, the reader sees the first evidence of his
loss of faith as he questions God during the selection process. Amid the
selection many Jews are separated from their loved ones who are immediately sent
to the crematory or burned in large fire pits. Although unaware to him at the
time, this is the last Elie will ever see of his mother and sister. For this
reason, many Jews are grieving and begin to recite the Kaddish, a Jewish prayer
for the dead. Here Elie questions, ” Why should I bless his name? The Eternal,
Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to
thank Him for?”(31) Shortly after, as he marches toward the barracks, Elie
witnesses a load of children being dumped into a pit of flames which he labels
the “Angel of Death”. At this point the reader sees the diminishing effects
the first night of camp life is already having on Elie as he vows, “Never
shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever… Never shall I
forget these moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to
dust….Never.”(32) Each day at the German concentration camp further and
further deteriorates Elie’s belief in God. The final moment, where he
renounces all belief in the existence of God comes at the funeral of three
Jewish males who were hung the day before, one of which was merely a child so
light in weight that he hung struggling for nearly an hour before he died. Elie
states, “This day I ceased to plead….My eyes were open and I was
alone-terribly alone in a world without God and without man….I ceased to be
anything but ashes, yet I felt myself to be more powerful than the Almighty, to
whom my life had been tied to for so long.”(65) Here the reader can sense the
immense loss that Elie is overcome by having spent most of his childhood seeking
salvation only to conclude it was all a waste of time. With the loss of his
religion, Elie’s only will to survive lies solely in the love for his father
and hope, a hope that some day he will see an end to the nightmare of
concentration camp life forever. Before forced evacuation into the concentration
camps, Elie and his father were not very close emotionally. In fact, his father
rarely showed emotion or concern toward family matters at all. Elie’s father
was one of the leading men that the community held in great esteem. Yet Elie’s
father did not approve of him wasting time with religion and readings of the
cabbala, which formidably created a barrier of separation between father and
son. The only bond between the two when they reach the camp is the desire to
stay with each other,” family”. After witnessing the horror of the first
night at the camp and the separation of his family and families of others, the
bond between Elie and his father seems to grow stronger. Because of his old age,
Elie’s father is constantly struggling with the militant style of camp life.

When he is beaten for not being able to march properly in rank, Elie spends time
inside the blocks teaching him how to properly march in place. Unlike many of
the other Jews who criticize Elie, he does not abandon his father to fend for
himself. Instead he is constantly by his father’s side looking out for him and
doing what he can to keep his father out of trouble. Eventually concentration
camp life frustration takes its toll on Elie as he begins to feel less and less
remorse for his father. One day as he and his father are loading diesel engines
into a train, one of the guards strikes out at his father. “You lazy old
devil”, the guard shouts out as he beats Elie’s father to the point of
collapse. Elie’s response to this beating is very much different though. He
felt that it was his father’s own fault. He states, “Any anger I felt at the
moment was directed, not against the Kapo, but against my father. I was angry
with him. For no knowing how to avoid Idek’s outbreak.”(64) The only reason
left to live after he has given up all faith in god is for his father. His
father needed him. He questions,” What would he do without me? I was his only
support” and so throughout the last winter there Elie’s ongoing struggle to
survive was met by his struggle to keep his father alive. Eventually when his
father is stricken with Illness he grows weary of constantly taking care of him.

While Elie’s father grew weaker so did he. At one point when he was in search
of his father he thought, “Don’t let me find him! If only I could get rid of
this dead weight, so that I could use all my strength to struggle for my own
survival, and only worry about myself.”(101) When his father eventually did
die, it was due to a blow on the head by an officer and the last words were that
of Elie’s name as he called him for water. Ashamed forever, this is what
concentration camp life had done to Elie. I believe that Elie Wiesel wrote this
book as a living testament, being one of the few survivors of the Holocaust. He
felt it was his duty to justify how so many of his people could be allowed to
die while the world remained silent. He and his people did not create the
Holocaust, but rather the Holocaust created them. As a survivor, Elie has no
choice but to tell all who will listen what the silenced victims would tell if
they could speak for themselves today. Having lost his entire family to the
aftermath of the Holocaust, one can only hope that the world can learn from the
Jewish people’s suffering and prevent history from repeating itself.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out