Night was a gripping narrative that detailed a young Jew’s experience in the terrifying concentration camps of World War II. Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, finally puts his memories to paper as his concise memoir presents a front-row seat to Hitler’s hellish night. Accompanied by his demure father, young Elie is exposed to the harsh reality that threatened the very existence of his religion. The town of Sighet starts in a state of relative calm, where the Jews are content and hesitant to believe that Hitler could harm them, much less exterminate an entire people. Ignoring the warnings of Moishe, an unheeded witness, the entire Jewish population is sent off in transports less than two months later. Reaching the concentration camps, the brutality begins to set in as right away. “The beloved objects that we carried with us from place to place were now left behind in the wagon and, with them, finally, our illusions” (29). All around him, Elie is faced with many implications of “night.” Faced with the horrors of the crematorium, exhaustion, and hangings, most inmates quickly experience a darkness of faith. Even Elie, the former mystic, begins to question his faith as he ponders, “Why, but why would I bless Him… Because He kept six crematoria working day and night… He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death?” (67).
As demonstrated, Elie Wiesel used the concept of night to convey the brutality and his predicament. Throughout, Elie’s vivid storytelling has taken his anguish and transformed it into a piece of art. One interesting aspect that was lacking in some of the other Holocaust books I have read is the underlying component of religion. Throughout his ordeal, Elie regularly reflects on his emotions regarding the brutality he has witnessed and how it has affected his view of the world and his religion. He also frequently examines Judaism and Hitler’s motives as to better understand the purpose of the Final Solution.
This book was an amazing read and this piece of literature would benefit anyone who read it. Unfortunately, comprehending the brutality and the harrowing tale requires a certain level of maturity. Therefore, Night would be most suitable for a teenage to adult audience who can appreciate the poignant narrative and its implications.