In what ways does Wiesel relate not only his own nightmarish memory of the Holocaust but also humanity's?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the reasons why Wiesel's work is utterly profound is because he is able to pull out a subjective experience of horror and then connect it to an objective setting.  Wiesel's narrative is focused on the pain that Eliezer must endure.  Yet, Wiesel also focuses on how this experience is a result of the lack of humanity and constant dehumanization that enveloped him in his being in the world at this time.  Wiesel is smart enough and keen enough to understand that the true terror of the Holocaust was how so many people, Nazis and non- Nazis, engaged in the dehumanization of other people.  The dehumanization of which Wiesel speaks is one where people of Sighet dehumanize and demonize Moshe the Beadle or do the same to Madame Schachter.  In this, Wiesel is able to make the point that the Holocaust results from the silencing of voices that the Nazis started, but so many were able to continue in their absence.  The dehumanization and lack of dignity with which the Nazis treated people became absorbed by their targets, who did much of the same.  It is in this light where Wiesel's own nightmarish experience is broadened to a condition of universality from the subjective realm.

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