Night by Elie Wiesel
“Hitler won’t be able to do us any harm, even if he wants to.” So begins the book, Night, by Elie Wiesel an autobiographical work about Elie’s struggle to survive the Holocaust while living at multiple concentration camps. Beginning at age 15, Elie Wiesel moves from a young man questioning the accounts of German hatred, to becoming a witness of many inhumane acts brought upon people. Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, describes instances of inhumane acts on the Jews at Berkenau-Auswitz, at Buna, and on the march to Gleiwitz.
Upon arrival at Berkenau-Auswitz, the men and women were separated. It was here that Elie saw his mother and sisters for the last time. With the advise of another prisoner, Elie and Mr. Wiesel, lied about both their ages and occupations in order to get into the same line of men. “The baton moved unremittingly sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left.” (page 29) Happy to be with his father, Elie still did not know if he was in line for the prison or the crematory. The line marched up toward the fires, he could see little children and babies being tossed into the fire. The line moved on past another pit where adults were being burned.After seeing these tragic events, Elie could no longer sleep. He could not believe this was happening and nobody was doing anything to stop it.
After surviving the first concentration camp, Elie and Mr. Wiesel were sent to Buna, a work camp. At Buna a Overlap (a prison guard) was tortured for sabotaging a power station. A young boy under him, called a Pipel, was also to be tortured for information on the Overlap’s accomplices. The Pipel was hung because his he would not reveal the Overlap’s accomplices. “For more than a half an hour, he stayed there struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes.”(page 62). As Elie stood and watched he heard the other prisoners repeatedly ask, “Where is God?”
A third cruel act the Nazi’s did was make the prisoners run nearly 50 miles to Gleiwitz. They did not let the prisoners stop running for even a second or the person would have been killed. Even though the prisoners were not given a chance to stop, the S.S. Guards were given many breaks so they were not tired. Some of the prisoners went too slowly and they were trampled by other prisoners. The whole time Elie was running he constantly said to himself “Don’t think, Don’t stop, Run.” (page 83). Finally, when given an order to rest, the prisoners fell to the snow. Hundreds of prisoners, including Elie and his father took shelter in a caved in factory. Many were crushed and trampled and dying but no one paid attention.
Through Elie Wiesel’s description of the selection of prisoners at Berkenau-Auswitz, the torture and hanging of the Pipel at Buna, and the cold deadly march to camp Gleiwitz the inhumane acts upon the Jews are described.
The descriptions show the disbelief that the prisoners felt.Even as they lived these inhumane events, they could not believe that the Nazi’s could be so horrible.Elie Wiesel started his story as a young boy doubting Hitler’s desire to destroy a race, and ended it witnessing many inhumane and deadly acts.