Night by Elie Wiesel is an amazing autobiographical account of his experiences being persecuted by the Nazi party. Although it is unbelievably sad, it is a remarkable story that takes you through his five year journey surviving the most gruesome conditions imaginable. After reading the book I was really struck with the atrocities that took place during the Nazi’s reign. I have read other books about the topic, but this book really reaches you on a personal level. Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in a small town in Transylvania called Sighet. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were forced by the Nazis to go to Auschwitz. Later, Elie and his father were transported to Buchenwald. His father died shortly before Buchenwald was liberated in April 1945. His mother and sisters were separated from him at Auschwitz, he later found out his mother and younger sister died, his two older sisters survived. After the war, France offered him asylum and unwilling to return home, Elie Wiesel moved to Paris.
Ellie Wiesel writes in an incredibly vivid and descriptive way, he makes you feel like you are there feeling and sensing what he is in the moment. He shares his thoughts, and his reflections looking back on the terrible events he endured. He didn’t just show his hatred for the Nazis, he showed all the emotions he encountered, which were not always negative. For example near the end of the book, right after his release, because he had strived so much to survive he had regressed to animal instincts; he says “Our first act as free men was to throw ourselves onto the provisions. We thought only of that. Not of revenge, not of our families. Nothing but bread.” (119). He shows how complex his thoughts about everything going on around him were, there was not one clear direction. In the dire situations Jews during the Holocaust were put through they all had mixed feelings, they had been so abused mentally and physically they could not and did not want to even contemplate what the Nazis had done to them.
A reoccurring symbol in the book is night; before the Nazis come and turn his world upside down, night is a time of reflection and renewal for Mr. Wiesel. Once he is taken away and sent to concentration camp he looses all the comfort he had in night. Looking back at his first traumatic night at Auschwitz, Mr. Wiesel says “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.” (43) Mr. Wiesel had no more faith, and no more trust in night- he describes his detached, confused life forever after as “one long night “.
This book is incredibly sad, but it is beautifully written. I think everyone who is not educated on the Holocaust should read it not only for the insight on what happened but for the insight on how it affected people. Reading this amazing first-hand account is much more interesting than reading any textbook chapter on WWII or the Holocaust.