Dehumanization in Night by Elie Wiesel

Topics: Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz concentration camp, Night Pages: 3 (1012 words) Published: May 31, 2015
Erika Sharrett
March 23, 2015
English 11-Night Essay

Dehumanization is defined as the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worth of humane treatment. It also can lead to increased violence, human rights violations, war crimes, and genocide. When there is severe hatred and aversion towards a different group, it can direct to classifying the rival as inhuman and treating them with bestial punishment. In the book Night by Elie Wiesel, the Jews were victims of the Nazis and were dehumanized to the equivalence of animals, treated horribly, and faced with the challenge of survival daily.

The most common example of dehumanization in the book was what they were called. The Jews were addressed to as no more than filth or an animal. When the Hungarian police ordered them out of their houses into the streets yelling “Faster! Faster! Move you lazy good-for-nothings!” (Wiesel 24) the Jews began to suffer the first steps to feeling worthless. They were ordered around, given no food or water, hit, stuffed into train cars, and mistreated. Any value or respect held for them was taken away, exemplifying degradation and dehumanization. The Jews were no longer spoke to by their names. Instead, they were given and assigned numbers that were their so-called “names” for the next months. Any historical or important surnames were quickly abolished. “I became A-7713,” Elie explained, “From then on, I had no other name.” (Wiesel 42) Their humanity was taken away and all they were left with was a broken, filthy body and a number. As the year passed, the Jews became so accustomed to this treatment that they succumbed to not being anything more than a number, a face, and an enemy. Adding to what they were told they were, they also had their dignity and honor stripped from them in the disgraceful ways they were treated. The Jewish people went through many months of being humiliated and debased by the Nazis. Free will, or any...
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