Night Questions and Answers
by Elie Wiesel

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What is Eliezar's new "name" when he arrives at the concentration camp in Night by Elie Wiesel?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Like the other inmates of the camp, Elie is robbed of his name and assigned a serial number instead: A-7713.

This is significant because it's just one way the Nazis robbed the Jews of their identity. They separated families and communities, burned their places of worship, shaved their bodies of all hair, and confiscated all of their belongings down to the most insignificant objects. But a name is a precious thing, a sign that one is a human being and part of a family, that one has an identity and is special. By taking this away from the inmates, the Nazis make the inmates feel like animals, or perhaps, even like machines doomed to toil away within the camp confines. To have one's name taken away is to be dehumanized and this is precisely what happens to poor Elie.

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In Night by Elie Wiesel, Elie and his family and friends are taken to Auschwitz, a death camp in Poland. There, the Jews and other prisoners are stripped of all their belongings including their clothes. They are shaved bald and forced to wear the threadbare uniforms of the camp. They are poked and prodded and questioned, and if they are healthy enough, they are sent to work in sometimes unimaginable conditions. In doing all of this, the Nazis stripped the Jews of their identity. They were reduced to numbers when they were given their "new names." Elie Wiesel's number-his new name- was A-7713.

Something I have always found interesting about Elie Wiesel's number is that in Hebrew, letters and numbers are the same. In other words, the first letter of the alphabet is aleph, and aleph is also the number one. As the numbers grow, letters are put together to equal those numbers. If you add Elie's number, you come up with the number 18. The equivalent Hebrew letters spell "chai," which means "life." Kind of cool, huh?

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