Can you explain the following passage from "Night" as sadly ironic?"the yellow star? Oh well, What of it? You don't die of it .." (Poor Father! Of what then did you die?
When the Nazi soldiers first arrive in the small town of Sighet, they arrest the Jewish community leaders on the seventh day of Passover and issue an edict prohibiting Jewish citizens from leaving their homes for three consecutive days. The Nazi soldiers then confiscate gold, jewelry, and anything valuable from the Jewish citizens' homes. Three days later, the Nazis issue a new decree that every Jewish citizen must wear a yellow star on their clothing. Elie's father attempts to downplay the significance of the decree by telling his son, "The yellow star? So what? It's not lethal . . . " (Wiesel, 36)
Elie's father's comment is ironic because the yellow star on the clothing of the Jewish citizens eventually results in their deaths. After wearing the yellow stars on their clothing, Jews were then forced to live in ghettos before being transported to concentration camps, where millions of Jewish prisoners suffered and died. The seemingly insignificant edict regarding the yellow stars has tragic consequences and is ironically fatal to the Jewish citizens of Sighet.
I believe that this line was spoken by Ellie's father in the novel when the Jews were first forced to wear the star on their clothing. At this point in the novel, his father didn't think it was "too bad" to put the star of their faith on their clothing. Wearing this star on their clothing labeled them as Jews and led them to their death. As you know from the rest of the novel, Jews were taken from their homes and brought to the concentration camps where they were eventually executed.
Most likely, this particular line is a reference to the Holocaust. My guess is that the father and child are Jews. In this case, the father is trying to downplay the significance of the "yellow star": an identifying badge all Jews had to wear. This line, then, is ironic because almost all Jews who were unfortunate enough to be labeled with this star were eventually executed because of their faith. The star is a symbol--one that does indeed lead to the father's death.