In the book Night, what are some lessons Elie learns from Juliek?

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junebug614 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Juliek is first introduced as having a "cynical" smile and gives Elie some information and advice, "  We work in a warehouse of electrical materials, not far from here.  The work is neither difficult nor dangerous.  Only Idek, the Kapo, occasionally has fits of madness, and then you'd better stay out of his way."  He learns a valuable piece of information here:  that Idek should not be underestimated.  Elie later crosses Idek and learns that this was valuable information.

Next, after months of separation, Elie recognizes Juliek's voice as they are both nearly suffocated to death while people cover over them in the barracks during a death march.  Juliek's one concern as he is being run over is that the Germans might break his violin if they find it.  The two survive being suffocated to death, and later, Elie hears Juliek playing Beethoven, a composer forbidden by the Germans, as men lay around him dying.  He realizes that Juliek is playing his "life" - his past, present, and never to be lived future.  It was Juliek's final farewell.  When Elie wakes up in the morning, Juliek is dead and his violin is smashed.  In this instance, Juliek teaches Elie that there is still hope and beauty in the world.  Elie has seen so many evil things that he begins to doubt the goodness of humanity and even God himself.  Juliek helps to teach him that humanity can prevail in the face of terrible evil.