How does Elie Wiesel describe his father in Night?

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Elie's father is presented by his son as a respected member of the Jewish community in Sighet. However, like many in positions of authority, he doesn't pay serious attention to the imminent threat posed by the Germans. Nevertheless, once he's been deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, he's completely disabused of all his illusions. No longer an optimist, Shlomo becomes physically and psychologically weaker as a result of his brutal treatment in the camp. The roles of father and son become completely reversed; it is Elie who must be strong for his father as he declines day by day. In this desperate fight for survival, Shlomo comes to seem almost a burden to his son. Yet at the same time his presence prevents Elie from selfishness, from succumbing to the law of the jungle.

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Early in Night, Elie Wiesel describes his father as someone who seems to care about others in the community more than his family. Wiesel writes,

"My father was a cultured, rather unsentimental man. There was never any display of emotion, even at home. He was more concerned with others than with his own family." (Wiesel 2)

Elie's father was a no-nonsense kind of man--someone who was very respected in the community of Sighet, where they lived before the Nazis came. The Wiesels had a shop where Elie's parents and sisters worked, but Elie was required to go to school. When Mr. Wiesel was not working, he was attending to matters in the village.

Later, Elie's father becomes a shadow of his former self. The constant torment in the camps beats him down, and he becomes very weak. He is no longer the strong man Elie knew before they were imprisoned. This is one of the hardest things for Elie to witness--the breaking of his father.

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