Elie Wiesel’s novel “Night” describes his unique experience as a Jewish boy in the merciless grip of the Holocaust. He explains how his whole world shrunk until the final thing they had left, their lives, were stolen from them. The cruel mockery of the mass murder enablers paired with the cut-throat tension amidst the suffering Jewish people can only be described as man’s inhumanity towards man. This reoccurring theme of man’s inhumanity arises during many of the most memorable moments from “Night” and leaves a lasting effect on the reader and the witnesses of these events.
“Once more the young men tied her up and gagged her. They even struck her. People encouraged them.” 24 The train ride to Auschwitz challenged everyone physically and mentally, those nearing their breaking point lost sense of all humanity and did everything they could to avoid death. Madame Schachter was the first to fall victim of the twisted face of man. Elie recalls looking back at Madam Schachter’s dumbfounded gaze just before deporting the train and remembering how her own people turned against her when she attempted to offer words of wisdom. This theme of forced silence lingers throughout the entire book as the Jewish people are forced, by the S.S. officers and by their own people, to abide by the concentration camp rules.
A dramatic realization of man’s inhumanity towards man appears when Rabbi Eliahou’s son, Zalman abandoned his father during the run to Gleiwitz. “His son had seen him losing ground, limping, staggering back to the rear of the column. He had seen him. And he had continued to run on in front, letting the distance between them grow greater…he had wanted to get rid of his father! ...He sought this separation in order to get rid of the burden.” This thought that crosses Elie’s mind, once viewed in disbelief, is later portrayed as a logical, rational solution.