by Elie Wiesel
Night Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
From that moment on, everything happened very quickly. The race toward death had begun.
First edict: Jews were prohibited form leaving their residences for three days, under penalty of death.
The same day, the Hungarian police burst into every Jewish home in town: a Jew was henceforth forbidden to own gold, jewelry, or any valuables. Everything had to be handed over to the authorities, under penalty of death. […]
Three days later, a new decree: every Jew had to wear the yellow star. (1.66-72)
The Jews of Sighet begin the gradual, systematic process of losing their identities and humanity. They lose much of their personal freedom, their personal possessions, and begin to be defined simply by their Jewish heritage, nothing more. Later, they are completely confined to a ghetto…and it just gets worse from there.
"Faster! Faster! Move, you lazy good-for-nothings!" the Hungarian police were screaming.
That was when I began to hate them, and my hatred remains our only link today. They were our first oppressors. They were the first faces of hell and death. (19)
The Hungarian police see the Jews of Sighet as animals, and treat them as such.
Abruptly, our doors opened. Strange-looking creatures, dressed in striped jackets and black pants, jumped into the wagon. Holding flashlights and sticks, they began to strike at us left and right […]. (1.60)
During Eliezer’s first encounter with concentration camp prisoners, he describes them as "creatures." These prisoners have lost their human identity, they are mere creatures, all dressed alike in similar, strange clothing. Within one night, Eliezer will become one of these "creatures" as well.