Night by Elie Wiesel
Nobody wants to read such a morbid book as Night. There isn’t anybody (other than the Nazis and Neo-Nazis) who enjoys reading about things like the tortures, the starvation, and the beatings that people went through in the concentration camps. Night is a horrible tale of murder and of man’s inhumanity towards man. We must, however, read these kinds of books regardless. It is an indefinitely depressing subject, but because of its truthfulness and genuine historic value, it is a story that we must learn, simply because it is important never to forget. As Robert McAfee Brown states in the preface of the memoir “the world has had to hear a story it would have preferred not to hear- the story of how a cultured people turned to genocide, and how the rest of the world, also composed of cultured people, remained silent in the face of genocide.” Elie Wiesel has paid much attention to an inner desire and need to serve humanity by illuminating the hate-darkened past.
Night is a horrifying account of a Nazi death camp that turns Elie Wiesel from a young Jewish boy into a distressed and grief-stricken witness to the death of his family, the death of his friends, even the death of his own innocence and his faith in G-d. He saw his family, friends and fellow Jews first severely degraded and then sadistically murdered. He enters the camp a child and leaves a man. At the book’s end, Elie bears little resemblance to the teenage boy who left Sighet almost a year earlier.
Night is a memoir exquisitely written. Wiesel’s eloquence makes his descriptions seem terrifyingly real and repulsive. It is a book about what the Holocaust did, not just to the Jews, but to humanity. People all over the world found themselves affected by this atrocious act. Even today, there are a number of survivors who are tormented by their experience every day of their lives.
The Wiesel’s have, throughout the novel, several opportunities to escape Sighet as well as the camp itself, but they are stubborn in their beliefs and refuse to listen to the warnings. Moshe the Beadle, Elie’s mentor at the beginning of the novel, while Elie is still a deeply religious young man, manages to escape the Gestapo in Poland. He returns to Sighet to deliver his message and to try to warn people of the pending situation. The villagers, however, believe Moshe has lost his mind, finding his stories too outrageous to believe. Thus, they all ignore his frenzied warning. Berkovitz is another villager who returns from Budapest and reports that Fascists are terrorizing Hungarian Jews. This warning too, goes unnoticed. Even when they are already in the Ghetto, they are naive enough to consider the Germans to be polite, especially after one of them buys Madame Kahn, one of the neighbors, a box of chocolates. Before it is too late, Maria, the Wiesel’s Christian servant pleads with them to leave the unguarded Ghetto and seek refuge in her home. Elie’s father refuses. Finally, on...