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“Night” by by Elie Wiesel Review

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Night is just one of many memoirs written by Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, and he tells of how himself at a young age survived these horrible series of events while facing a variety of constant struggles both internally and externally. Eliezer, known as Elie, grew up in the small community of Sighet, located in Hungarian, Transylvania. It is here that Eliezer studied religions classified as the Cabbala and the Torah. “And we the Jews of sighet were waiting for better days, which would not be long in coming now.” Most of the Jews were much like Elie, strongly devoted to their beliefs in and of God but slowly as the war progressed and having to bear the brutal dreadfulness of the holocaust,Elie’s faith started to fade and he began to lose sight of himself. This caused him to have to reevaluate who he really was exactly.

Elie’s main conflict was the his ability in expressing that when humans are faced with protecting their own mortality, they soon tend to neglect or abandon their morals and values that have been around for what could have been the entire life. This was shown within not only the Jewish but German people of this novel as well. The German soldiers were considered inhumanely cruel to protect their homes, jobs, family, and even their own safety by obeying any command they were given by the government. The Jewish captives in a way lost their sight as they continuously fought to survive these brutal concentration camps.

In the book, Nazis are unimaginably cruel to the Jewish people. The German soldiers were not born as what we see as evil people, but in the efforts to protect themselves from the German ruling, they had no other choice but to stray from their morals and personal values. The Nazis became cruel to others and went far as the rejection of other races, and viewing the Jews as more so objects or animals rather than humans. Not to count out all Germans, many began helping the Jews and offering comfort. The first example we saw of a helpful German turn on the Jews occurs when one soldier had been trying to offer his prisoners comfortable in assuring them that they will be kept safe. Once he realizes his bosses have other plans he quickly abandons his Jewish acquaintances, “I’ve got more faith in Hitler than anyone else. He’s the only one who’s kept promises, all his promises(Night, 77). Many of the soldiers knew their actions were wrong, but they were afraid an because of this fear there was no way they would speak out against their leader. The Germans may have known that the torture they were participating in was wrong, they refused to say so for due to their fear of repercussions from their own government.In a similar example of moral abandonment, in this story the Jewish population starts off supporting one another through all means, but as individual’s survival is on the line, they begin to abandon each other.

As the Jews face the possibility of death, they lose faith in God and move on to protecting themselves rather than helping others. The first hint the morality decline for the Jews occurs when the President of the Jewish Council refuses to tell his peers that the ghetto is at risk of being evacuated because ³they had threatened to shoot him if he talked (Night, 11). Not to soon after,a Jewish lady is screaming of hallucinations on the train on route to concentration camps. Rather than soothing her, the other Jews beat her to keep her quiet so that they aren’t punished for the commotion (Night, 22). As things get worse for the Jews, they continue to turn on each other rather than stand together in efforts to fight. A vivid example of this occurs when a Jewish dentist is revealed to have been unnecessarily pulling teeth of his comrades and using the metal to pay his own bills(Night, 52). The abuse becomes more morbid when the Jews walk a death march from one comp to another. As some of the hikers fell, they were ³trampled under the feet of the thousands of men who followed (Wiesel, 86)´. The Jews are so concerned for their own lives, they lost the urge to help a man dying right under their feet. Soon after the horrific incident, various numbers of Jews were piled on a cattle car and told to toss out dead bodies. They tossed not only the corpses aside, but also those who were sick and could not defend themselves,leaving the healthier prisoners with more room for themselves. “On the third night I woke up suddenly to two hands on my throat, trying to strangle me.”(Night, 96).

At this moment Elie was weak still suffering from an injury and since he was seen as weak and needed to get out of the way. The Jews even began to turn against their own families. At one point, a son sees his father hiding some bread and the son hits the father over the head to steal the food. “ Meir, Meir, my boy! Don’t you recognize me? I’m your father… you’re hurting me… you’re killing your father!”(Night, 96). In this place, it is every man for himself and you cannot think of others and in Elie’s case not even your father. (Night, 110).This novel displays a tug-of-war between the values of a community and the instincts of individuals for survival. The essay illustrates the loss of morals by both the Germans as soldiers and the Jews as prisoners. The author illustrates that the physical body has the will to live, and instinct will propel you forward to do acts which you might not ever do if not placed in a situation of life and death. In this idea you might just become a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passing of time (Night, 50) A starved stomach that would do anything to survive and ignore their own morality

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