“Night” by Elie Wiesel—a short and easy-to-read book—was given to me by my cousin who’s a school teacher. The New York Times describes it as “A slim volume of terrifying power.”
If you’re a history junky like myself, then you’ll really enjoy this book. It’s based on a true story of Eliezer Wiesel’s experience in the Nazi German concentration camps during the Holocaust toward the end of World War II. The Holocaust has always fascinated me in a sense of disbelief because of the inhumane acts that happened during that time. In fact, visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum one day is on my bucket list.
Wiesel was only 15 years old when he was taken into camp, along with his father who was 50 years old. When they first arrived at Auschwitz, a veteran inmate advised them that the age of 15 was too young and 50 was too old, so they lied and said they were 18 and 40 in order to be given the opportunity to live and fight. They battled with death and survival; they were given minimal layers of clothing in harsh weather and labor conditions, they were fed a small portion of soup and bread, and suffering from starvation, they even ate snow off of other inmates’ backs or old potato peel scraps from the ground. They avoided “selection” where thousands of innocent inmates of all ages were thrown into the flames of a gas chamber and turned into ash.
Due to Wiesel’s horrifying experience, he lost his faith in God. In his stories, he emphasized he couldn’t comprehend how something so brutal could happen in the 20th century, yet, it seemed like nobody knew or cared to help stop the injustice. The world remained silent as millions of people were being worked to death, and he constantly asked himself where was God in Auschwitz. Other inmates still prayed because their faith was what kept them alive.
Wiesel’s work of literature speaks as a voice for the six million Jews that were killed. I believe the purpose of reading Holocaust books is to educate ourselves on the extreme outcome of dictatorship and discrimination. It’s important to be aware that the Holocaust DID happen, and to not let history repeat itself.
Overall, this is definitely a must-read. It’s a heartbreaking real story, and I appreciated the author’s honesty. He expressed his obstacles physically and mentally, some of which he felt guilty for. What are some of your favorite Holocaust books?