In Night, what is the Red Army used for?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Night, the Red Army is used to liberate the concentration camps.

The function of the Red Army is as an adversary to the Nazis. At the time when Night takes place, the Allied forces challenged Hitler from two primary directions.  The America and British parts of the Allied alliance threaten Hitler from the West. The Red Army, or the Soviet army, is the threat that the Nazis face to their East.  The Allied two pronged approach was critical in defeating Hitler and the Axis threat in Europe.

Throughout the narrative, the Red Army is shown to be a sign of hope for the Jewish people. They  view the Red Army as a sign that Hitler's terror will come to an end.  This can be seen in the very beginning in Spring 1944: "The Red Army is advancing with giant strides. Hitler will not be able to harm us even if he wants to." This same use for Soviet forces is demonstrated when Wiesel is talking about life in the camps:  "The Red Army was racing towards Buna: it was only a matter of time." In these settings, the liberating Russian Army is a source of hope to those suffering in the Holocaust. With Auschwitz located in Poland, Soviet forces were the closest Allied forces. The Red Army was used to initially free camps like Auschwitz. It marked the end of Nazi brutality.  In Night, Wiesel uses Soviet forces as a reminder that all things come to an end. This includes the horrific experience of the Holocaust. Though it seems difficult to envision something so terrible ending, the Red Army's presence demonstrates there is an ending to everything.

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