Response to Night by Eliezer Wiesel
Length: 1694 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)
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1. What is your Text about?
Night is an autobiography by a man named Eliezer Wiesel. The autobiography is a quite disturbing record of Elie’s childhood in the Nazi death camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald during world war two. While Night is Elie Wiesel’s testimony about his experiences in the Holocaust, Wiesel is not, precisely speaking, the story’s protagonist. Night is narrated by a boy named Eliezer who represents Elie, but details set apart the character Eliezer from the real life Elie. For instance, Eliezer wounds his foot in the concentration camps, while Elie actually wounded his knee. Wiesel fictionalizes seemingly unimportant details because he wants to distinguish his narrator from himself. It is almost impossibly painful for a survivor to write about his Holocaust experience, and the mechanism of a narrator allows Wiesel to distance himself somewhat from the experience, to look in from the outside.
2. Facts about Eliezer Wiesel.
Elie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928. Elie is a writer, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and surviver of the Holocaust. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a “messenger to mankin”. Elie was born in Sighet, a small town in Romania, to his father Shlomo and Mother Sarah Wiesel. Elie Wiesel had three sisters: Hilda and Bea, who were older than he, and Tzipora, who was the youngest in the family. On May 16, 1944, the Hungarian authorities deported the Jewish community, including Elie and his family, in Sighet to Auschwitz – Birkenau. Auschwitz was the first camp Elie was sent to. On January 28, 1945, just a few weeks after the two were marched to Buchenwald and only months before the camp was liberated by the American Army on April 11. Sadly Wiesel's father suffered from dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion, and was later sent to the crematoria. The last word his father spoke was “Eliezer”, Elie's name. After the war, Elie was placed in a French orphanage, where he learned the French language and was soon reunited with his two older sisters, Hilda and Bea (Tzipora was murdered at the camps), who had also survived the war. In 1948, Elie began studying philosophy at the Sorbonne. Elie also taught hebrew, and was a choir master before going on to becoming a Journalist, for Israli and French newspapers.
In 1955, Wiesel moved to New York City, after becoming a U.S. citizen. Due to injuries suffered in a traffic accident, he was forced to stay in New York past his visa's expiration and was therefore offered citizenship to resolve his status. In the U.S. It was here where Elie wrote a further 40 books.
One of the forst things in the novel that got my attention was after Moche’ had escaped from the Nazi’s. As he was telling the stories of what happened, he said that people were forced to dig their own graves, and then shot dead in them. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Nazi’s would deal with the babies by throwing them into the air, and use them for target practice. Of course the babies are still alive when this happens. To get joy out of this is unimaginable. How inhumain must you be before this seems ok, before you can through the live body of a tiny infant into the air, shoot it down, and go home feeling fine, without regret or remource.
At the first concentration camp, the Nazi’s had dug pits which were set alight. The Nazi’s would then throw people that were of no use to them such as infants, or elderly people, who were unable to work, into the creamation pits. The worst part about this is that these pits were used to dispose of people who were still alive. These people are alive, alive when they are thrown to burn away into nothing but a black disfigured and charcoaled corpes. I can’t even begin to imagin the pain and suffering that was felt by these poor people. This doesn’t effect me emotionally so much but it makes me sit back and think, “ holy crap, how can people do this, what the hell is wrong with them”. I could only just think of other things more torturous than being burnt alive. Everybody has been burnt in their life… by a small flame. But imagine being engulfed by one, powerless to save yourself. It’s unimaginable.
Hanging. An age old criminal punishment that happened reguarly at these camps. I suppose in comparison to the other toturous treatments this may seem pretty easy goin. But it’s still murder. The nazi’s would punish the starving for taking extra helpings this way, the starving who would be killed anyway once they become too starving and weak. What choice do you have. It seems as though at the end of every trail lies the same outcome. The hangings were also used as a deterant to the other prisoners, as a warning that this is what will happen to you if you screw up. It was shocking that the liitle boy was hung was alive for thirty minuts after the chair was kicked. Struggling for breath, unable to attain it, unable to scream for help, in all, helpless. To feel yourself diying, but not knowing how much longer it will take until that agony will stop, is more torture than the hanging.
4. Images (N/A for this website (ignore this section unless pictures show).)
This is an image of the prisoners of the concentration camps in their bunks of the barracks. To me it looks more like a chicken farm. These people are deprived of food which is why they are so skinny. This is reffered to in the book. Elie talks of how weak and sick his fellow prisoners look, and this is a perfect image to acompany those words. This is more than likey what Elie looked like after his years at the Aushwitz and Buchenwald. This picture was actually taken after these prisoners were being free’d by by the US army (after or during the war im not sure) hence the smiles of releif on most of the faces.
This is a pictuer is of one of the many mass burial graves. This one in particular was located at Auschwitz, the same camp Elie was located. These pits were used to discard all the dead and the murdered, where they were often later burned to ashes. These graves were dug by the prisoners of the camps. It was the job of the prisoners to dig and then fill these graves with the masses of dead prisoners daily.
This is a picture of the crematorium of Auschwitz. This place was talked about often in the book as a place fear, and the place no one wanted to end up. The death toll at these camps were very high so they needed to cremate as many prisoners as they could so the bodys were decapitates and stuffed into tiny metal casings. This image really gives you a depressive image in your head because of how gloomy and run down it looks.
5. My thoughts
I had known for a long time the sort of horrors and torturous things went on at these camps, but what this book does teach is the horrors and tortures of one. The book tells of the emotions and experiences through the eyes of one who has actually experienced those terrible times.
This book opened my mind a little to really appreciate the world as it is now. Freedom is everything, and without freedom you have nothing. Freedom was taken from these people, and followed by their lives. I thought it a disgrace that humans could do such things. As you read this book you constantly are trying to imagine what it would actually be like, but you could never really understand
Some of the evnts displayed in this book really made you embarrased to be a human. How can there be so much hate between one kind. Black, White, Asian. Dewish, Christian, arabic. We are all the same, what you do to others you do to yourself. Humans are the most advanced creatures alive yet we can act like the most primative, and brutal of all. This was the outcome of one mans insanity, one extreme occultist, oblivious to reality, and lost in his own obsession of his perfect world.
I think that this book is somewhat important for some people to read because its an accout of the history and the terrible things that happened. This book is an eye opener, especially to those people who new little about this. This book tells of the horrific experiences of one, through the eyes of one, something that no documentary, or history book can acheive. Although this book (personally) may not be the most fun read, it is interesting at times, and insightful, and gives you a better understanding. The book was written by Elie Wiesel, a very brave and strong hearted man, that took everything he had to write down his memories and bring himself back to his nightmare. I think that it’s probably something that should be read, so that people can understand. Elie is a world peace activist, and you could say that this book is his cry. The book is short, but the way he writes it seems like it goes on forever. He manages to fit a lot on to one page, and he follows his story very closely and doesn’t jump around. People from Dewish families should definitely read this book, as it is a huge part of your history as a Dew. I myself found this book boring but it was touching, and made you feel quite sorry for the people who had to experience this horror story. I cant say myself that I enjoy reading, I would have prefered a movie version of the book, but to anyone who does like reading you should check this out, you may learn something.