What are the positive lessons of the Holocaust that Elie Wiesel hints at in Night?

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While it's hard to glean anything truly positive from Elie's experience, one positive impact is that he became more sensitive to human kindness. When one is surrounded by brutality, the significance of compassion is all the greater. He points out the kind people he encounters in the camps, and he...

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While it's hard to glean anything truly positive from Elie's experience, one positive impact is that he became more sensitive to human kindness. When one is surrounded by brutality, the significance of compassion is all the greater. He points out the kind people he encounters in the camps, and he also becomes closer to his father, since each are all the other has.

Also, the horrors of the Holocaust are a kind of caution—a rallying cry to make sure similar horrors be stopped before they can grow into something similarly destructive. Wiesel points out at the beginning of the novel how the warnings of Moishe the Beadle were ignored by the people, who found such horrific atrocities too incredible to be true. Now we know they aren't.

Though the Holocaust is one of humanity's greatest atrocities, it stands as a symbol that these things can happen and that people need the sensitivity to sniff such fascism out.

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The primary positive focus of the memoir is Elie's closer relationship with his father. Elie's first description of his father is that he is "unsentimental." However, once Elie and his father are left with only each other after their transition to Auschwitz, they begin to look after each other. One of the most poignant events in the memoir is when Elie's father gives Elie a knife and spoon as his "inheritance" when he thinks he is about to be killed. This moment is tragic, yet also demonstrates the love and forethought Elie's father had for his son.

Another positive element of the memoir is that, amidst the horrors of concentration camp life, the bright and beautiful elements are all the more appreciated by Elie and the other prisoners. For instance, Elie takes time to describe the people who were kind to him and the other prisoners, including the pipel and the woman whom he was able to meet again several years later. Additionally, the haunting scene in chapter six of Juliek playing the violin is another example of beauty in the midst of suffering. The song that Juliek plays before his death is described in a personal and meaningful way by Elie and demonstrates the effect that that moment had on him.

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One of the most resounding lessons to emerge from Wiesel's work is the idea that individuals must always speak out against aggression and the denial of individual rights.  The narrative offered is so powerfully horrific that the conclusion of the work makes it a moral, ethical, and political reality which demands speaking out against any order which takes away human rights and dignity.  In examining the setting which denies bonds between families and human beings, one cannot be helped but speak out against such injustice.  One positive lesson from the work is that anything which could be remotely similar to what Eliezer experienced has to be struck down immediately.

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One positive lesson is that the Holocaust allowed some people to value their family more than they did before deportation.  Elie's relationship with his father is not the best is could be.  His father sees him as an immature boy, and Elie sees his father as oblivious to what is happening around him. By the end of the book, Elie has taken responsibility for his father and most certainly is closer to him before their camp experience.

Another positive lesson is that Elie gains an immense amount of self-knowledge during the Holocaust.  He learns what he is capable of and that exacting revenge (such as the freed prisoners immediately hunting down their oppressors) doesn't usually help someone heal from a horrific experience.

While Elie learns some valuable lessons from being a Holocaust victim, one must still argue that those lessons could have been learned without his having to endure such awful circumstances.

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The key positive lesson to emerge from this horrendous account of what the Holocaust meant for Jews is the message that humans must never forget the depths to which they have sunk. One of the most powerful passages comes just afte Eli arrives at Auschwitz with his father and they contemplate the chimneys with the smoke rising from them. Eli writes a kind of prose poem talking about how that moment is carved onto his heart and soul for all eternity:

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 transofrmed into smoke under a silent sky.

The positive to come from such an experience is that the author calls us to never forget and to never erase the reality of man's depravity from our memory. By so doing, humans can remember and make sure that such a dark chapter of human history is not repeated. Wiesel makes it very clear that humans must never forget the Holocaust, because to forget it, and to pretend that it didn't happen, only would allow similar atrocities to occur once more. This is the main positive message that emerges from this text: by remembering, humans ensure that hopefully there will not be a repeat episode.

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