Book Review: Night By Elie Wiesel
Night by Elie Wiesel not only tells us about the horrific tragedy that the Jews suffered in the middle of the twentieth century. But, it also gives us glimpses of the worst things that we as homo sapiens can do to ourselves in the name of race and religion. And this book on the holocaust is one of those books that can’t be ignored. A necessary read.
I think the majority of humans are aware that cancer cells exist within one’s body. And keeping those harmful cells within a limit is a must for a person to stay alive, isn’t it? That’s why eating good food and doing a time-to-time body checkup is always recommended, so that one can enjoy his or her life in a peaceful way.
We can also correlate the same with our society. There are multitudes of humans that are like cancer cells. In fact, they are among us. These are those people who believe in the so-called notion of racial purity. Other than that, they are also jingoistic, always eager to belittle others because of their sense of superiority. These people are known as the Facists.
In the middle of the 20th century, these people committed some of the worst crimes against humanity, especially against the Jews, which we remember as the Holocaust. And to check these human cancer cells, as a society, we have to ensure that these cancerous elements within our world remain as minimal as possible, isn’t it? Because like our bodies, this world and humanity need healthy cells.
In fact, the more we read about the pogrom against the Jews, the more we realise that as a society we need to speak up wherever and whenever we see crimes against humanity. Like in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, we came across the story of Lale Sokolov, another holocaust survivor. In “Night,” we’ll read the tale of Elie Wiesel.
What is Night by Elie Wiesel?
Night by Elie Wiesel is the story of an adolescent Jewish boy who not only survived the brutalities of the Nazis during World War II. But, he also saw the separation of his mother and younger sister and the slow and painful death of his father in one of the Nazi concentration camps.
Other than the painful side of the story, Elie Wiesel’s memoir is also about hope and perseverance. That’s why, in 1986, he was bestowed with the prestigious Noble Peace Prize.
The book was originally written in Yiddish. And later it was translated into French and English. In fact, in the beginning, every major publishing house rejected the publication of this book. The irony of irony. However, as Victor Hugo said, no force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come. The same with Mr. Wiesel. Through his story, he let us know that in this chaotic world of ours, staying silent is not an option.
The language of the book is not that tough to read. In fact, within a few hundred pages, the author has told his story. I strongly recommend this book to all the readers out there.
Dawn before the horrible night
Elie Wiesel was born in a nondescript town by the name of Sighet, Romania. His father was always busy with the affairs of the Jewish community, and his mother and sisters were used to taking care of their home. As a young Jewish boy, Elie was drawn towards the mysticism of the Jewish religion. And during his leisure time, he loved to engross himself in the Talmud.
For the Jewish people of Sighet, the sirens of World War II and the destruction don’t mean too much. They thought that they would remain untouched by the brutalities of the Nazis under the command of Hitler. In fact, in between they had heard a little about the fate of those Jews who were burnt to ashes in the chimneys of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous Nazi concentration camps for the Jews.
With that callousness, the years 1942 passed, and 1943 also passed. And still they believed that no harm would be done to them. But the spring of 1944 sealed the fate of the Jews of Sighet, and also of the Wiesel family.
In the year 1944, the Fascist party sieged power in Hungary. Within a few days of capturing power, the Jews of Sighet were told to pack their belongings and leave for the ghettos. The Wiesel family also left everything behind. Elie Wiesel saw his father crying for the first time in his life. None of them could do anything. Still, they hoped for better.
After spending a few days in those Jewish ghettos, the infamous SS (paramilitary wing of the Nazi party) Nazis loaded Elie and his family into cattle cars. Like animals, they were packed into them. And in that suffocating cattle train, they were taken to the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. It was here that the young Elie Wiesel saw his mother and younger sister alive for the last time.
Women and children went directly to the chimneys of those creamatoriums, where they were burnt to ashes. Men were sent to work as labourers in camps until their deaths. Even though he was separated from his mother. But Elie Wiesel and his father stayed together till the very last moment.
Pain and Suffering
Elie and his father stayed in the different concentration camps like Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Buna. Day and night they suffered the Nazi’s brutalities. Seeing the deaths of so many people around them made them not only numb but also restless. In fact, Elie saw his father beaten black and blue several times by the dreaded SS. But, he couldn’t do anything to help his father.
In the camps, they were made to work like animals. With limited rations, they spent their days. It’s like not only seeing hell. But also experiencing it on a daily basis. Some of the Jews in those camps went insane. Even the religious-minded Elie stopped praying. In fact, he questioned the existence of God itself.
With that pain and suffering, the year 1944 passed. The New year also didn’t bring too much hope for them. Even Elie lost his father. In front of his eyes, he passed away. The young Elie was left on his own.
In April 1945, Elie and other Jews from the camps were liberated by the Allied forces. The first thing they did after liberation was to eat to their fullest. Yes, they just wanted to eat. They had no revenge. No celebrations. They wanted food at that time. In fact, the amount of pain they have endured is unbelievable.
However, young Elie had lost his parents and sister. But, he didn’t lose hope. He kept pushing himself and survived. He was one of the survivors of the Holocaust. And through his words, we came to know about the horrible circumstances in which they lived day and night.
Elie Wiesel’s story is the living epitome that tells each one of us that speaking up against tyrants is a sacred duty which every sane human should do. Because you don’t know when that human monster will come after you and your family and friends. So, raise your voice against tyranny of any kind.
I’ll conclude with this bon mot:
Dictators are always cowards, so don’t hesitate to speak. Raise your voice and let the world know that in this world of ours, there is no place for tyrants and human cancer cells!
Why you should read this book?
You can go for this book if you want to read:
• A Holocaust-related memoir
• The Importance of Hope in One’s Life
• A classic book
I hope you like this. Thanks for reading. Jai Hind.
My Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)
You can also order your copy of the book from Amazon India- The Night Book