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Josef Nachar Night

9/6/2011 Mr. Miller

Night written by Elie Wiesel tells the story of a grueling time. Night does not pretend to be a comprehensive survey of World War II experiences, neither does it try to explore the experience of Jews in concentration camps. Instead, it focuses on one specific storyEliezersto give the reader a detailed, personal account of suffering in the Holocaust. As the book takes you from start to end of Elie's time in concentration camps, each chapter leaves you with an idea of life during the Holocaust inside the concentration camps. The Holocaust was the systematic persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.

Night begins in Elie's home town Sighet in Hungarian Transylvania. Wiesels Orthodox Jewish family was highly observant of Jewish tradition. His father, Shlomo, a shopkeeper, was very involved with the Jewish community, which was confined to the Jewish section of town, called the shtetl. As a child and teenager, Wiesel distinguished himself in the study of traditional Jewish texts. In the spring of1944, the Nazis occupy Hungary. Not long afterward, a series of increasingly hostile measures are passed, and the Jews of Eliezers town are forced into small ghettos within Sighet. Soon they are herded onto cattle cars, and a nightmarish journey ensues. After days and nights crammed into the car, exhausted and near

starvation, the passengers arrive at Birkenau, the gateway to Auschwitz. The Jewish arrivals are stripped, shaved, disinfected, and treated with almost unimaginable cruelty. Eventually, their captors march them from Birkenau to the main camp, Auschwitz. They eventually arrive in Buna, a work camp, where Eliezer is put to work in an electrical-fittings factory. Under slave-labor conditions, severely malnourished and spiritually crushed by the frequent selections, the Jews take solace in caring for each other, in religion, and in Zionism, a movement favoring the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, considered the holy land. . During Eliezers time in the camp he experiences many things a boy his age or anyone for the matter should not. In the camp, the Jews are subject to beatings and repeated humiliations. A vicious foreman forces Eliezer to give him his gold tooth, which is pried out of his mouth with a rusty spoon. Eliezer witnesses the hangings of man people including a young boy. Through all of this Eliezer stays true to himself and his father, but the same cannot be said for others. Eliezer also witnesses the ruthless behavior the camps have turned people into. He see's the son of a faithful man try to separate himself from his father during the evacuation from one of the camps, the boy had given up on his father not wanted to carry more baggage then he needed. Also another night during another evacuation Eliezer witnesses a boy ruthlessly attack his father and kill him to get bread his father had possession of. Throughout the time there, Eliezer and his father help each other to survive by means of mutual support and concern. In Buchenwald, however, Eliezers father dies of dysentery and physical abuse. Eliezer survives, an empty shell of a man until April 11, 1945, the day that the American army liberates the camp. The book Night is indeed historically accurate. The Holocaust is a factual event, a genocide happening between 1938 and 1945, There was a concentration camp named Auschwitz and there were many other camps. Jews were targeted by the Fascist group the Nazis for dull reasons. In the camps the Jews were tortured, over-worked and starved. They were treated in UN-humane ways that no one should have to bare witness to. Although the book is about a fictional character, it still is about the authors experience. Also it is strongly considered an historically accurate even due to the fact that it is a primary resource,

exactly what happened was written. Although Eliezers explicit mentions of religion vanish, religious metaphor holds Nights entire narrative structure together. As noted above, the Akedah is a foundational metaphor for the work. Throughout the memoir, furthermore, Wiesel indirectly refers to biblical passages (Psalm 150, for example, when Eliezer discusses his loss of faith) and Jewish tradition (the Nazis selections on Yom Kippur of which prisoners will diea cruel version of the Jewish belief that God selects who will live and who will die during the Days of Awe). Though Eliezer claims that religion and faith are no longer part of his life, both nevertheless form a tacit foundation for his entire story. Night written to inform and not entertain did entertain me. The book was a great read. I learned a lot from the book.