In Elie Wiesel's Night, the author writes of his experiences in the death camps during World War II, giving testimony to the horrors prisoners endured. Elie's experiences did not cause him to lose all faith, but to become doubtful about a just and merciful G-d. He also rejected the religious life he led before the camp and rebelled against what he perceived as a distant, silent G-d.
In the original Yiddish manuscript, Wiesel explains the transformation from innocent acceptance of G-d and goodness to skepticism and doubt. He wrote:
In the beginning there was faith—which is childish; trust—which is vain; and illusion—which is dangerous. We believed in God, trusted in man, and lived with the illusion that every one of us has been entrusted with a sacred spark from the Shekhinah's flame; that every one of us carries in his eyes and in his soul a reflection of God's image. That was the source if not the cause of all our ordeals.
Upon first entering Auschwitz, he writes,
For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?...Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself (33).
On page 45, he confirms that he does not deny G-d's existence. He writes,
Some of the men spoke of God: His mysterious ways, the sins of the Jewish people, and the redemption to come. As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.
Others prisoners in Night lose faith too. A young boy who was beloved by the inmates is hanged. It soon becomes apparent that the boy is not dead, but hanging from the noose and dying slowly. Another inmate questions his own faith in G-d on page 65:
Behind me, I heard the same man asking: "For God's sake, where is God?" And from within me, I heard a voice answer: "Where He is? This is where—hanging here from this gallows..."
As the inmates prepare to celebrate the Jewish New Year, on page 66 Wiesel asks himself,
What are You, my God? I thought angrily. How do You compare to this stricken mass gathered to affirm to You their faith, their anger, their defiance? What does Your grandeur mean, Master of the Universe, in the face of all this cowardice, this decay, and this misery? Why do you go on troubling these poor people's wounded minds, their ailing bodies?
Wiesel thinks to himself:
I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man...I felt myself to be stronger than this Almighty to whom my life had been bound for so long. In the midst of these men assembled for prayer, I felt like an observer, a stranger.
He rebels against G-d. Elie decides not to fast on Yom Kippur and notes on page 69, “There was no longer any reason for me to fast. I no longer accepted God's silence. As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest against Him.”
Another inmate, Akiba Drumer, also loses faith. Elie writes on page 76,
He was not alone in having lost his faith during those days of selection. I knew a rabbi, from a small town in Poland. He was old and bent, his lips constantly trembling. He was always praying, in the block, at work, in the ranks. He recited entire pages from the Talmud, arguing with himself, asking and answering himself endless questions. One day, he said to me: "It's over. God is no longer with us."