Book Review of “Night” by Elie Wiesel
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The Holocaust is a haunting time in the history of the world. The book “Night” by Elie Wiesel captures Wiesel’s haunting experience during the Holocaust. A book like this is one that is not read for enjoyment, but rather for information. If one wants to be able to at least imagine what the people in the concentration camps went through, then this is the book to read. Night does not sugar-coat what happened in those camps. Wiesel tells the world what it was really like to live behind those barbed-wire fences.
Elie Wiesel wrote “Night” to inform the public of what really happened during the Holocaust. The detailed accounts that Wiesel are given to inform the world of the torture that many people incurred during this terrible ordeal. On page 46 he speaks of how kind the leader was to the children, “Like the leader of the camp he loved children.” He made sure that children were fed upon arrival, but one sentence later, one learns the true reason for this favored treatment, “(Actually, this was not disinterested affection: there was a considerable traffic in children among homosexuals here, I learned this later.) That description hardly fares in comparison with the passage on page 88 when he writes, “Some Kapos rapidly installed us in the barracks. We pushed and jostled one another as if this were the supreme refuge, the gateway to life. We walked over pain-racked bodies. We trod on wounded faces. No cries. A few groans. My father and I were ourselves thrown to the ground by this rolling tide. Beneath our feet someone let out a rattling cry.”
The words that form this heart-wrenching account of the Holocaust is told with more emotion than other accounts that I have read. This account allows the reader to view the life of a fifteen-year-old boy, someone who was of our age, in the concentration camps. This makes the book easy to relate to and one cannot help, but feel pain for Elie and cry when he did not. There are other works on the Holocaust that do not do justice to what happened, but this book brings about a sense realism to the situation. It really wakes the reader and forces the reader to realize that this happened. People really did lose their lives because of what their beliefs and nothing else.
What one already knows about the Holocaust will be reinforced by Elie Wiesel’s words because Night makes the Holocaust feel as if it is happening to the reader. While reading, one cannot help, but put themselves in Elie’s shoes and think, “What would I have done there? Would I have left my father behind to die and rot or would I have worked hard to keep him by my side?” One can never really know the answers to those questions. This book will have a much stronger impact on the reader than books that merely tell the horrifying facts. One should read this book to better understand what the Jewish went through during the Holocaust just for being who they are.