Night (Wiesel)

In this memoir, Eliezer struggles with his relationship with his father during the Holocaust.

AuthorWiesel - Elie Wiesel
Early 20th-Century LiteratureEarly 20th-Century World Literature
FormNovel
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureWorld Literature
Post-1945 LiteraturePost-1945 World Literature
ThemesFamily
Freedom and Confinement
Identity
Lies and Deceit
Mortality
Race
Religion
Violence

Transcript

00:24

...but our souls as well.

00:27

Long-standing beliefs can be rocked to the core...

00:29

...and our faith in humanity can be severely tested.

00:36

Consider the relationship you have with your father.

00:39

You two may have your highs and your lows...

00:41

...but imagine having to go through something like what Eliezer and his father experienced

00:47

in Elie Wiesel's Night.

00:49

Could you choose between helping your ailing father and acting to ensure your own survival?

00:56

We can read about what happened to the victims and survivors of the concentration camps.

01:01

We can get a general idea of their daily routine, and how their captors treated them.

01:06

But can any of us really come close to understanding the utter despair they must have felt?

01:12

How can someone continue to believe that humankind is basically good when they see such atrocities

01:18

being committed on a daily basis?

01:21

And if they give up on humanity, what reason do they have any longer to show mercy, kindness,

01:27

or compassion? In Night, one prisoner actually kills his

01:32

own father for a loaf of bread.

01:34

Certainly, we can't blame something like that purely on hunger.

01:38

He had been reduced to an animal, systematically broken down, day after day.

01:45

We can imagine that all sorts of beliefs were tested by the unfortunate prisoners of the

01:50

camps.

01:50

How did their experiences affect the way they viewed their own religion?

01:54

Would their God allow such horrors to befall them?

02:01

Surely there were many in Eliezer's company at Buchenwald who felt compelled to renounce

02:06

their religion after being subjected to such a living Hell.

02:10

And what about their feelings toward race?

02:12

Clearly the Nazis had their own issues when it came to ethnicity...

02:16

...but Jews who previously exhibited no animosity toward others...

02:20

...might have suddenly developed resentment, distrust and... plenty of hatred... toward

02:25

pretty much every gentile.

02:26

This was Eliezer's struggle... to preserve and hold onto whatever shreds of decency and

02:32

virtue he could...

02:33

...as he fought at the same time to simply stay alive.

02:36

So... put yourself in Eliezer's shoes for a minute.

02:40

How would you have dealt with the horrors he faced?

02:43

Shmoop amongst yourselves.