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What incident from sections two and three of Elie Wiesel's Night is the most horrific?

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shoov | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 29, 2013 at 10:52 PM via web

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What incident from sections two and three of Elie Wiesel's Night is the most horrific?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 30, 2013 at 12:09 AM (Answer #1)

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While readers of Elie Wiesel's Night will probably all agree that the entire Holocaust experience was horrific, obviously readers will not necessarily agree on what they find most horrific. If this is a question your teacher asked you, he or she would like your opinion and your reasoning for it. Here are several things I find most disturbing in these sections.

The Madame Schachter incident is awful and frightening. It reveals how quickly her fellow Jews grow insensitive enough to commit violence against an essentially harmless woman. She cannot help what she sees, and when they arrive at the camp Elie realizes what she saw was the Jews' new reality. 

This quote is also quite chilling to me:

"The world? The world is not interested in us. Today everything is possible, even the crematoria." 

It is tragic that this entire episode in history happened; it is even more tragic that the world did nothing and that the Jews thought this lack of action was just because they were Jews. There is nothing in this statement which does not disturb me deeply.

Finally, the fact that Elie's last moments with his mother and sister are so overshadowed by the other horrors of Birkenau is terrible to me. I know we see dead bodies and burned babies and other awful things which, in another setting, would be the most horrific details of any other scene. But here, there is nothing to be done for the dead and it is the living who most capture my pity because they can see what their futures are probably going to be. The evidence is everywhere around them. 

Sources:

Lori Steinbach

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