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The autobiography ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel Review

The autobiography ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel tells the perspective of a young Jewish teen, and his time as a prisoner at concentration camps during the holocaust. Eliezer grew up in a tiny community in Sighet, in Transylvania. It is here that he studies two religions, Cabbala and the Torah. The start of World War II Eliezer was devoted to his faith in God, by the end of the war his faith slowly starts to weaken. The main conflict that Eliezer goes through would be sustaining his belief in God. This becomes harder throughout the book, as he faces more challenges.

Moshe the Beadle teaches Eliezer about his faith. Moshe teaches Eliezer that religion is based on two concepts; that god is everywhere, and that faith is based on questions not answers. Over the years of believing in a higher power, it became apparent that prayer had become human nature to have a sense of devoutness, and believed that their god would bless and save them. To Eliezer, prayer was a natural habit that he partook in daily despite not having a real reason to.

The Nazi’s were merciless executioners. The moment the Germans entered Sighet they tormented the Jews. They forced them from their homes into the Ghettos and took all their possessions. When Eliezer first observes the Germans, he learns to hate them. Their brutal attacks on children, women and the elderly fueled his anger. “I began to hate them.” When Eliezer arrives at Auschwitz he sees the evil. Shocked, Eliezer watches as truckloads of small children are thrown into a pit of fire. The horror of Auschwitz is engraved into Eliezer’s mind and has a large effect on him. “How could they burn children?” The Germans murdering many innocent Jews was a haunting experience that haunts him. “Never shall I forget.” The Germans had methodical means for torturing Eliezer. They took away his identity and he became a number “A-7713”. During the selection process Eliezer is forced to run naked in the freezing cold, like an animal. Yet Eliezer’s ‘nightmare’ continues as he accidentally catches Idek sleeping with a Polish Woman and is punished for it. Eliezer is brutally tortured with whips as an example by Idek. “I had fainted.” Eliezer, again, is brutally attacked by Idek in the warehouse when Idek has a fit of rage. Eliezer suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazi’s. The events an innocent child witnessed exposed him to the dark side of mankind.

At Auschwitz, Eliezer sees the brutality the Nazis enforced and starts to question God. “but why would I bless him?” (page 67) the silence that Eliezer hears from God causes him to slowly lose faith in Him. Eliezer begins to rebel against God. When Eliezer sees the ruthless hanging of the Pipel, he again turns against his beliefs. Elie’s faith weakens under the horrors he lives through. Yet he returns to his faith. He prayed to God to give him the strength ‘never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son had done’. Eliezer realizes how much he cares about his father. When the two arrive at Birkenau, Eliezer grips to his father hand as so ‘not to lose him.’ Throughout their camp life the bond between the two grows stronger. When his father is chosen for selection he gives Eliezer his inheritance. His father believed he was about to be killed yet he still was trying to protect Eliezer. When Eliezer is required to give up his golden crown to Franek the foreman, it is his father who suffers the most trying to help Eliezer keep it. As many sons are deserting their fathers in selfish acts we see Eliezer begin to support his father, Shlomo. Eliezer fights to save his father because he is all he has left of his family. Eliezer was entering manhood, from a dependent child to a responsible young man. Yet when his father dies we see Eliezer grieves deeply for his father. Eliezer begins to lose his fight for life. “no more reason to live.” The death of his father had changed Eliezer and scarred him for life.

Eliezer Wiesel’s ‘Night’ tells his experience in the Nazi concentration camps. Set during World War II the autobiographical deals with the murders committed by the Nazi’s. The Germans had invaded almost all of Europe and Hitler had started his “Final Solution” and tried to commit genocide against what he called the “lesser races.” Eliezer’s experiences in the camps changed him deeply forever. Eliezer had lost a lot through the war and this changed him intensely. The brutality he had witnessed had negative psychological that haunted him throughout his life. Through experiencing the horrors of Auschwitz and the immoral of the Germans Eliezer lost his deep faith. The death of Eliezer’s father had another dramatic effect on Eliezer. From being a blissful child Eliezer had become a depressive young man. The most important change in Eliezer was the value system that he developed during his suffering. Though Eliezer lost his faith he managed to keep most of his morals and values “The child that I was had been consumed in the flames.”

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