Night By Elie Wiesel
Night, By Elie Wiesel is a devastatingly true story about one man’s witness to
the genocide of his own people. Living through the horrifying experiences in the

German concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, Elie sees his family,
friends and fellow Jews starved, degraded, and murdered. In this essay I will
address three important topics expressed throughout the course of the book.

First, I will discuss the struggle and eventual loss of religious faith by Elie
in his battle to maintain humanity in this de-humanizing environment, and what
ultimately enabled him to survive. Second, I will show the established
relationship between Elie and his father, and the impact life in the camp had
upon it. And finally, give my personal opinion on why Elie Wiesel wrote this
book. One of the main topics in this book is how Elie, a boy of strong religious
faith, as well as many Jews lose their faith in God because of the atrocities
that take place in the concentration camps. Elie Wiesel lived his early
childhood in the town of Transylvania, in Hungary, during the early 1940’s. At
a young age Elie took a strong interest in Jewish religion as he spent most of
his time studying the Talmud. Eventually he comes across Moshe the Beadle, who
would take him under his wing and instruct him more in depth of the ways of the

Talmud and cabbala. Through Moshe’s instruction, he is taught to question God
for answers. Later Moshe is sent away to a camp and upon his return to Sighet
presents the reader with a foreshadowing of what will soon come in the book.

Elie recalls, "Moshe had changed....He no longer talked to me of God or the
cabbala, but only of what he had seen."(4) Thus right away the reader is
exposed a loss of religious faith in Moshe, the same loss that will soon plague

Elie. When Elie arrives at Birkenau, the reader sees the first evidence of his
loss of faith as he questions God during the selection process. Amid the
selection many Jews are separated from their loved ones who are immediately sent
to the crematory or burned in large fire pits. Although unaware to him at the
time, this is the last Elie will ever see of his mother and sister. For this
reason, many Jews are grieving and begin to recite the Kaddish, a Jewish prayer
for the dead. Here Elie questions, " Why should I bless his name? The Eternal,

Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to
thank Him for?"(31) Shortly after, as he marches toward the barracks, Elie
witnesses a load of children being dumped into a pit of flames which he labels
the "Angel of Death". At this point the reader sees the diminishing effects
the first night of camp life is already having on Elie as he vows, "Never
shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever... Never shall I
forget these moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to
dust....Never."(32) Each day at the German concentration camp further and
further deteriorates Elie’s belief in God. The final moment, where he
renounces all belief in the existence of God comes at the funeral of three

Jewish males who were hung the day before, one of which was merely a child so
light in weight that he hung struggling for nearly an hour before he died. Elie
states, "This day I ceased to plead....My eyes were open and I was
alone-terribly alone in a world without God and without man....I ceased to be
anything but ashes, yet I felt myself to be more powerful than the Almighty, to
whom my life had been tied to for so long."(65) Here the reader can sense the
immense loss that Elie is overcome by having spent most of his childhood seeking
salvation only to conclude it was all a waste of time. With the loss of his
religion, Elie’s only will to survive lies solely in the love for his father
and hope, a hope that some day he will see an end to the nightmare of
concentration camp life forever. Before forced evacuation into the concentration
camps, Elie and his father were not very close emotionally. In fact, his father
rarely showed emotion or concern toward family matters at all. Elie’s father
was one of the leading men that the community held in great esteem. Yet Elie’s
father did not approve of him wasting time with religion and readings of the
cabbala, which formidably created a