Cast of Characters

Eliezer – The author. The boy who grew up as an orthodox Jew studying the Kabbalah in the mountains of Transylvania in a small hamlet called Siget (Transylvania in the Carpathian mountains) and was taken to the camps at 14 years old. He is the voice of the book describing his experiences in the various camps. He is liberated in 1954 after having lost almost his entire family in the camp.

The father – His name, only mentioned once in the book, is Shlomo. Although Wiesel, in the book, makes it sound as though he was totally ignorant of the outside world before he was transported (and this impression is replicated in later memoirs), the facts are otherwise. His father exposed him to humanism and certain aspects of secular learning (although his mother, coming from strict Hassidic background, opposed this). At a time when most Hasidim were against Zionism, his father introduced him to Zionism and encouraged him to learn Hebrew and read literature. In fact, his family also spoke German, Hungarian, and Romanian. Wiesel later commented that his father epitomized reasonm while his mother represented faith (Fine, 1982, p. 4).

Dr. Mengele signals Shlomo and Eliezer to the left, thereby saving their lives only temporarily before Eliezer’s father dies from dysentery, starvation, and beatings just before Buchenwald is liberated and after he has become delusional.

Tziporrah – Eliezer’s youngest sister. She and his mother (Sarah Feig, who was the daughter of Dodye Feig, a celebrated Hasid and farmer from a nearby village) are selected to the right—the crematoria—upon reaching Auschwitz.

Moshe the Beadle – The teacher who taught Eliezer Kabbalah in his hometown of Sighet and who futilely attempted to warn the townspeople about the impending Holocaust. He is also called a “clown” in Wiesel’s typical way of casting tragic figures in existentialist roles. “Clown” here would signify tragic irony.


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