Who would Wiesel feel is responsible for the Holocaust?

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

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I think that Wiesel would say that this is one of those questions where the answers might not be as important as the question itself.  Recall from Night how Moshe the Beadle wishes the strength to ask God the questions, as opposed to deriving answers.  This might be one of those situations.  I think that Wiesel is a complex enough thinker to make sure that he does not simply suggest that the Nazis are the only ones responsible.  Certainly, they get a lion's share of the blame and Wiesel, through his own life and his work, would indicate this. Wiesel does not believe in blaming the victims.  Yet, Wiesel and his work suggest that one of the true terrors of the Holocaust is how human beings succumbed to dehumanizing one another with such relative ease.  In Night, we can see this in the characters of Madame Schachter and Moshe the Beadle.  For both characters, their torment were at the hands of their fellow people of the Jewish persuasion.  Wiesel is able to bring out how the cruelty of people towards one another made the dehumanization that led to the massive scale of death in the Holocaust such a reality.  As victims began to appropriate the behaviors of their oppressors, Wiesel makes the point that the responsibility for the horror of the Holocaust is on the shoulders of the individuals who silenced others through dehumanization.  In this, Wiesel, in Night, suggests that the Nazis did not monopolize the market on human cruelty.