Throughout history During World War II, millions of European Jews suffered and died at the hands of Adolf Hitler and his anti-Semitic Nazi regime. In the historical fiction Night, the author Elie Wiesel, portrays to the readers the emotional truth behind the Holocaust, based on his experience. He insists:
“The only role I sought that of witness. I believed that, having survived by chance, I was duty bound to give meaning to my survival, to justify each moment of my life.”
He opens our eyes and touches our hearts as he takes us to Eliezer’s psychological journey, as the Holocaust robs him of his faith in God and exposes him to the deepest inhumanity of which man is capable. Thus, the author wants us to understand the importance of learning from the tragedy that was the Holocaust:
“The Holocaust, shows that how people think and act needs revision in the face of those facts, unless one wishes to continue the same blindness that produced the darkness of Night. Yet failure to use the Holocaust to call all of humankind into question diminishes the chances to mend the world.”
Eliezer started out as religious and studious young man who possessed a strong sense of tradition and
faith, as well as being deeply interested in Jewish mysticism. When asked why he prays to God, he answered, “Why did I pray? A strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?” His belief in God was unconditional. However, his confidence in God diminishes as he is faced with the truth of what lies ahead for them:
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.”
This notion is also well illustrated by the author when he describe the hanging of three Auschwitz prisoners – one of them a child. As the prisoners watched the child die, Eliezer hear a voice asking:
“Where is God now?
I heard a voice within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He isHe is hanging here in this gallows….”
As he loses his faith, he began to solely depend upon
himself, as he struggle to survive his terrible fate without neither love nor mercy from anyone.