What can Elie never forget in "Night" and why?

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When Elie first arrives at the Auschwitz concentration camp, he and his father pass the first selection process and are forced to march in a line past the camp's crematorium. Elie recalls the traumatic and horrific experience by describing how the Nazi officers flung living babies into the fire. Elie...

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When Elie first arrives at the Auschwitz concentration camp, he and his father pass the first selection process and are forced to march in a line past the camp's crematorium. Elie recalls the traumatic and horrific experience by describing how the Nazi officers flung living babies into the fire. Elie then witnesses a massive pit of corpses and begins questioning God. Elie is utterly appalled and wonders how the Almighty can remain silent in the midst of this immorality. Before entering the barracks, Elie looks up at the flames from the crematorium and remembers Mrs. Schächter's premonitions on the train. Elie writes,

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. 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. Never (59).

On Elie's first night at Auschwitz, he witnesses numerous atrocities and unfathomable horrors that haunt him for the rest of his life. Elie will always remember the smoke spewing from the crematorium as countless Jewish prisoners were burned in ovens and the hopeless feeling that his future was destroyed. The extremely traumatic, dangerous environment leaves an indelible impact on Elie's soul, which he carries with him for the remainder of his life and shares throughout the book.

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In Chapter 3 Elie talks at length about how he will never forget the first night in that camp and the various gruesome images that will be burned into his memory forever.

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.

It is at this point that night takes on a new meaning for his life. Night is no longer a place that is a haven for him, it becomes in Chapter 3 his hell and suffering.

"Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky."

It is this first night that Elie and the other Jews of Sighet realize that Mrs. Schachter's rants and visions were not those of a crazy woman, but those of a woman who had a premonition of what they would endure. Elie can't forget these things because they changed who he was, the images were too powerful and the experiences that followed too vivid and unbelievable to ever be forgotten. The night and the flames signified the death of Elie the faithful, religiously inquisitive child.

"Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence . . .Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes."

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