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Night Essay, Research Paper

The Absence of Knowledge

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into a long night… never shall I forget that smoke…” Night doesn’t always represent the absence of light, but is a symbol for the absence of knowledge. Elie Wiesel’s book Night is a true account of what the Holocaust did, not only to many Jews but to humanity as well. The night was dark, flooded with death and decay, in the silent gray sky, secreting all that happened in Germany at that time. Crematories filled the night sky with the horrific odor of burning flesh, searing your nostrils. In this night, a concealed operation was occurring. Millions of Jews, including Elie’s family suffered horrible deaths of incineration, being shot to death, lack of food, and terrible death marches. This book was titled Night because of the worlds ignorance towards the slaughtering in Germany by the Nazis.

Elie and his family were transported by train; cramped, starved, and fearful of death. These massive trains carried thousands of women, children and men to an unknown destination, leaving them in the dark, without windows or fresh air they were living in an everlasting night. Many Jews went crazy and tore their hair out from living in a cramped space. They were not given food or water for many days so they became dehydrated and desperate for just a bite of hard bread. There was no sanitation in the boxcars. Not having bathrooms and sinks made the train cars reek of waste. Many people went crazy like the woman in Elie’s car who had images of smoke and fire, screaming and yelling till she got knocked out. Because the train cars were so dark and dim it gave everyone within them a long night, full of fear.

Gleiwitz concentration camp was one of the nastiest camps he had been to. Elie Wiesel worked endless nights, trying to stay alive, and keep his father alive. Many Jews were worked to death by hard labor and no food. His father was getting weak, so Elie gave him extra rations of food to keep him living. Another hardship was the long, arduous death marches. The allies were coming closer to the camps, so the Nazis made Elie and his father run from Buna to Gleiwitz, to evacuate to a more central part of Germany. The transfer was a long journey through bitter cold, and thick falling snow. Elie fought these hardships, unlike many who died, and came through to live to this day.

Throughout the book Elie showed the reader how the evil Nazis broke the pride and spirits of the Jews. As the time he was in the camps went by, he began to lose faith in God. He saw many brutal beatings and killings that made him think. Why does god exist, and if all those people were dieing and suffering without any help from him. As he watched this happen, he knew he was going to be physically and mentally impaired during the time at camp. He learned to be quiet and take a beating if you must do so in order to live, and not to fight back. Because of all this, it made him wonder if God was really watching him and taking care of him. Elie was a great example of how the Nazis broke the Jews down and made them weak.

The Holocaust threw a blanket over the rest of the world’s eyes. It seemed impossible to believe such horrors could occur so suddenly. Other countries ignored the fact that six million people were killed. The Nazis pursued that goal in liquidating millions of Jewish, gay, handicapped, and black citizens. By the end of the war Elie had lost all faith in God, and his people forever. The terrible train rides, death marches, the loss of spirit, and faith in his fellow man, provides the title Night for this great authentic novel. The night was a time for suffering and sorrow, a time of history that no one will ever forget. We need to remember the horrors of the Holocaust so that this night, or absence of knowledge, will never be allowed to occur ever again.


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