Elie Wiesel’s Night is a harrowing picture of the Holocaust. The book is punctuated with horrific scenes portraying unimaginable inhumanity. It is hard to believe that the story includes any progress made towards combating racism. Yet Night offers glimmers of hope.
In Night, the Holocaust is portrayed not just as extermination of physical bodies, but the destruction of souls. Elie loses his faith early in the memoir, yet many of his fellow Jews do not. Even after a day of back-breaking physical labor, over 10,000 Jews at Auschwitz gather for prayers celebrating the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. Their prayers are an act of rebellion against the Nazis and symbolize the resilience of the human spirit in the face of horror.
The Nazis viewed the Jewish people as subhuman, people whose elimination would benefit the world. Yet Elie, by trying to keep his father alive, shows the reader that every race of people has the same humanity and worth. Another profound moment comes when Elie briefly considers letting his father, a man who becomes "dead weight," die. Elie proves that human beings, no matter their race, religion, or ideology, have both good and evil aspects to their nature.