Dehumanization within Night
The author of Night , a novel documenting the horrible and gruesome events of the holocaust, Elie Wiesel expresses imagery to show the dehumanization of the jewish people by the Nazis as the jews develop the “survival of the fittest” mentality, and as Eliezer loses the ability to express emotions. All jews, as a race were brutalized by the Nazis during this time; reducing them to no less than objects, positions which meant nothing to them, belongings that were a nuisance. Nazis would gather every jew they could find and bring them to theses infernos, separating the men and women. Families, not knowing they would never see each other again. Individuals within the categories were divided even more, based on their health, strength and age. They would be judged by a Nazi officer, which would then decide their fate, if they would have the opportunity to live or if they would be sentenced straight to execution. In these camps, babies became target practice, being tossed in the air like an object with no significant value and shot at with no remorse. The more mature could be sentenced to execution, tossed into pits of fire while fully conscious burning them alive. In addition, the ones who passed inspection received treatment as if they were slaves and dogs, making them follow any command, any disobeying of these demands would consequence them to be shot without hesitation. These dehumanizing crimes were the punishments forced on the Jewish race by the Naziinfluence, turing Jewish nationality into a nuisance against what they believed.
Wiesel uses imagery of the Jews “survival of the fittest” mentality to show the dehumanization of the Jews who are forced to endure treacherous conditions in the concentration camps. The enslaved Jews experience the worst forms of inhumane treatment. Pushed beyond their ability to deal with the oppressing starvation, cold, disease, exhaustion, and cruelty, the Jews lose their sanity and morality. Thus, Wiesel refers to the Jews as.”Wild beasts of prey with animal hatred in their eyes; an extraordinary vitality had seized them, sharpening their teeth and nails. Men threw themselves on top of each other, stamping on each other, biting each other(Wiesel, 95).” This a;teration of the Jews mortality and character can only be credited to the dehumanization that they receive, not to the weakness of their spirit. The flock of hungry men clawing for food represents the selfish, animal-like, survival of the fittest mentality that replaces their normal human behavior. The Nazis purposely fail to provide the Jews with sufficient provisions, and as a result, the Jews are reduced to behave like beasts.
Another particular dehumanizing crim includes burning of fully conscious people. At the concentration camps, there were crematories, in which the ill, healthy, men or women were tossed in. “Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch, Something was being burned there”(47). The only things that are thrown into crematories are dead animals. It is out of respect to that person or animal that they are thrown into these crematories. Not as cruelty, but as a last wish. However, it is complete disregard from the Nazis to throw living people into burning fire, to feel unexplainable pain until their death. To murder a person while they suffer in complete agony is inhumane.Not all death is or should be painless, but purposely causing pain to torture a subject is mercilessness.
The final act of dehumanization directed toward the Jews is the treatment of human as dogs.All orders had to be followed or you would be shot. If you were told to run in a group, any person seen at a slowed down pace would be shot immediately.”Run! And we ran.”(46). The people of the camp who were “fortunate” enough to pass inspection and live followed all orders out of fear. Fear was the only motive needed for these people to obey every command they were given. It was not only fear of death, but also far of abuse, and fear of what was going to happen to them as they did follow their orders. Dogs, that is how each Jew was treated, like a n animal. Disregarding each persons life, Nazis would base their judgement on each Jew based on their orders. And based on their orders, ec judgment lead the Nazis to believe each Jew was a dog and they should be treated with no humanity.
Dehumanization is one of the worst acts that can be committed against another person. The dehumanization of the jewish race as a whole is one of the most unexplainably gruesome acts of all history. Treating people like property, an animal, not caring about any aspect of that person or(in this case) a whole race, leaves you in silence. Turning a person from an equal to having the same property as an object is the most disrespectful act. The Jews had no chance to defend themselves against the armed Nazis. Knowing this, the Nazis set out to punish and exterminate what they believed wrong. Abuse of power and hatred toward what the nazis believe to wrong led to the complete disregard for the jewish race and caused dehumanization to occur.