What does Night by Elie Wiesel teach us?

Night by Elie Wiesel predominantly teaches the reader about the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and the ways in which people lost faith during the Holocaust.

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In literary history, Elie Wiesel's Night is most significant as a benchmark in Holocaust literature. Its publication in 1960 paved the way for other such memoirs to emerge. As a teaching tool regarding the Holocaust from a personal perspective, it is invaluable, humanizing the people whose lives were destroyed by Nazi oppression.

Reading about the Holocaust in a history textbook is a much more remote experience than perusing a personal account of the events. One might reel at the number of people killed, and one might be given some details about the horrific conditions that camp inmates were forced to endure, but the sensory details and emotional content Wiesel's text grants the reader a more striking experience. Elie and his fellow victims are fleshed-out personalities, making their sufferings much more palpable and real to the audience than if they were relegated to statistics in an academic text. By reading Night or other Holocaust literature, the reader is shown that the Holocaust's victims were real people with loved ones, dreams, and beliefs that were all taken from them by the horrors that they witnessed.

Indirectly, Night also teaches the reader the importance of memory. Wiesel adamantly believed that the horrors of the Holocaust should never be forgotten so that they would never be repeated.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 18, 2021
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