If you associate "night" with darkness and depression and danger…then maybe you're not the happiest person to be around when the sun goes down. But you are on the right track when it comes to Elie Wiesel's autobiography. Prepare for some serious darkness, Shmoopers.
|Author||Wiesel - Elie Wiesel|
|Early 20th-Century Literature||Early 20th-Century World Literature|
Freedom and Confinement
Lies and Deceit
of years which altered the worldand my lifeforever.
My family and I lived in Sighet Transylvania.
We werent exactly strangers to evil.
Still we didnt sense any danger when local police carted away all the foreign Jews.
Dont get me wrong it was a major bummer but we figured that they'd probably
land on their feet in some other country But then my old friend Moishe returned
saying that the deported Jews were actually sent to Poland and executed by the Gestapo.
All the townsfolk figured he was taking crazy pills but we wised up fast when
Germans moved in and started taking over our lives...and our stuff.
The Gestapo moved all of us into a ghetto with barbed wire and the news
spread that we were being shipped off to some unknown place.
Shipped is a good choice of words for what happened.
We were treated more like freight than human beings packed tight like Tetris blocks and
sent out on the railroad for days without toilets or room to lie down.
Everybody was in full-scale panic mode but the worst case was Mrs.
Schacter who wouldn't stop screaming about a nonexistent fire.
Finally we landed at Birkenau and we saw flames coming from the crematoriums. Mrs.
Schachter was right to scream.
I somehow managed to stay with my dad when Nazi guards separated the men and women.
I didn't realize then that this was the last time I would ever see my
mother and little sister Tziporah .
An inmate told my dad and me to lie about our ages so we would
be selected for the work camps.
Others weren't so fortunate.
Our first days in Birkenau included beatings naked inspection head shaving and a tattoo with
our new names.
The boy named Eliezer was now A-7713.
Whatever I was called I knew I had one true purpose...
to keep myself and my father alive.
Survival was even harder in our new camp Buna .
Father couldnt stay out of trouble...I
even had to give up my gold tooth to save him from beatings.
It seems unbelievable but I began to blame my own father for getting into trouble
with the camp bosses for not being stronger and faster.
How could the God that I had loved my entire life allow such things to
occur How could the world allow it With the Russian army knocking on their doorstep
our German captors retreated through the snow dragging us on a death march.
Prisoners on either side of me were dropping from exhaustion and hypothermia...if
they weren't shot first for slowing down.
My father and I kept each other alive but some men survived by abandoning or
trampling their companions.
I saw a son kill his own father for a crust of bread and I
prayed that I would never commit such an act.
When our handful of survivors arrived at Buchenwald my father was fading fast.
I tried to take care of him but I couldnt help but resent it.
I could barely keep myself going One night Father began begging me for a glass
of water even though an officer beat him.
I stayed in my bunk afraid that I would be beaten too.
When I woke up he was gone from his bed.
I like to think that he was dead before they threw his body into the fire.
But I know that it wouldn't have changed anything.
There's not a lot to say other than that.
Allied forces were on the move and underground resistance fighters took over the camp in
time to meet the American tanks.
Now I had food hospital care and my stolen freedom back.
But it sure felt like I had nothing at all...
Sample images for WWII scene-setting in first panel http//static.neatorama.com/images/2007-09/world-war-2.jpg http//img.defencetalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/12th-bomb-group-world-warII.jpg http//isurvived.org/Pictures_iSurvived-4/birkenau-line2gasing.GIF
These are graphic. http//i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/04/06/article-1373571-0B7E710500000578-939_638x427.jpg http//furtherglory.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/dachaumorgue1945.jpg NOTE end of file