Dehumanization In Night Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald writes “He was so terrible that he was no longer terrible, only dehumanized”. This idea of how people could become practically unimaginably cruel due to dehumanization corresponds with the Jews experience in the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the ruthless massacre of Jewish people, and other people who were consider to be vermin to the predetermined Aryan race in the 1940s. One holocaust survivor and victim was Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner and author of Night. Wiesel was one of the countless people that went through the horrors of the concentration camps, which dehumanized people down to their animalistic nature, becoming only an echo of their previous selves. Dehumanization worsens over time in Night because of how the Jews treated each other, and how Elie changed physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Jews’ close relationships slowly deteriorated due to dehumanization. Before they were transported, the Jews looked out for one another, but once in Auschwitz, everything they once were and believed in started to fade. For example, Akiba Drumer used to be a rabbi, endlessly praying his days away. After undergoing the concentration camps he had lost his faith in God, saying, “It’s over, God is no longer with us… I suffer hell in my soul and flesh … How can I believe, how can anyone believe in this God of Mercy?” (p.76-77). After suffering so much, Akiba couldn't even believe in his closest relationship with God anymore. All of the pain and anguish caused the past rabbi to lose faith in not only god, but in everything else as well. Akiba lost himself, and abandoned the one thing he used to rely on, God. All of these events happened because of dehumanization, and ultimately, Akiba ended up accepting his because of these events death. Like Akiba Drumer, another man lost to dehumanization was Rabbi Eliahu’s son. The Rabbi and his son were constantly together, side by side, for three years in the camps, and endured the same harsh conditions. When Elie came across the Rabbi looking for his son after the death march, he realized, “His son had seen him [the Rabbi] losing ground … [he] had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival” (p.91). The son, who had been with his father throughout the holocaust, abandoned Rabbi Eliahu for the mere chance he could increase his chance of survival. This further fits the idea that under extreme circumstances, dehumanization can cause people to betray their own family. Another father-son relationship that fell apart occurred on the train ride to Buchenwald. After a German laborer had thrown a piece of bread into the train car full of starving people, the people on the train ruthlessly fought others for the bread. Among those was a father, who hid some bread to share with his son, until the son, “threw itself over him [the father] … the old man was crying: Meir, my little Meir! Don’t...

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