Introduction to Night

Night is a memoir by Elie Wiesel, published in 1960. Wiesel, a Jewish author, based the novel on his own experiences in Nazi concentration camps between 1941 and 1945. The relatively short English translation of Night, which totals around 116 pages, was adapted from Wiesel’s original Yiddish manuscript titled And The World Remained Silent, which was more than 800 pages. Both versions of the text highlight the anger, fear, and disillusionment that plagued Wiesel during his imprisonment, but the English translation places a greater focus on the literary and philosophical elements of Wiesel’s story. The sparse minimalism of the English translation is often credited as giving the narrative a greater emotional resonance, especially for non-Jewish readers.

Though Night is a memoir, it is often regarded as being only semi-autobiographical on account of the liberties Wiesel takes while recounting his experiences. However, though the exact details are not always accurate, the emotional truth of the narrative has made it enduringly popular with readers and historians alike. Wiesel recounts how the Holocaust changed his relationship with God, whom he began to resent for allowing the horrors at Auschwitz to persist. Night is a quintessentially Jewish text, and Wiesel’s relationship with topics such as death, history, personal identity, and religion itself are based in his faith. In this sense, Night is not only a personal memoir but also a cultural artifact and, in Wiesel’s words, a deposition against the inhumanity of the Nazi regime and of all who allowed such cruelty to exist.

A Brief Biography of Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel (1928–2016) was a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and celebrated writer from Sighet, Romania. His harrowing memoir Night recalls his experience being deported to Auschwitz at the age of fifteen. After being separated from his mother and sisters, Wiesel and his father were transferred to several work camps, where his father was later beaten to death by Nazi guards. Out of the entire family, only Wiesel and his two older sisters lived to see the end of the Holocaust. Wiesel later married Marion Rose, another Holocaust survivor, and published several novels, nonfiction works, and another memoir during his lifetime. Night is an internationally acclaimed account of the horrors of Nazi persecution. Wiesel and his wife founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which aims to educate people and combat injustice and indifference.

Frequently Asked Questions about Night

Night

During the death march to Gleiwitz, Elie's father, Chlomo, already weakened, grows sick and exhausted. By the time they arrive at the Buchenwald concentration camp, Chlomo has passed out in the...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 12:09 pm (UTC)

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Night

Elie Wiesel's Night is aptly titled, since night is the central symbol of the novel. For Elie, the entire period that he spends in the camps is one long night dominated by darkness, terror, and...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2021, 12:40 pm (UTC)

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Night

In the final scene of Night, Elie is in the hospital recovering from a severe illness after the camp liberation. When he is strong enough to get himself out of bed, he examines himself in the...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2021, 12:04 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Night

Elie writes that April 5th is a historic day. On that day, the Germans announce that the Buchenwald camp will be liquidated and that all the Jews will be evacuated. Meanwhile, underground...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2021, 12:14 pm (UTC)

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Night

Night most associates fire with the Nazis' persecution of the Jewish people. The Nazis burn Jewish children in great fiery ditches. Fire also evokes the crematoria, in which the bodies of camp...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2021, 12:23 pm (UTC)

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Night

In Elie Wiesel's semi-fictionalized memoir, Night, Elie chronicles his experience in concentration camps during the Holocaust. He relayed the story of his personal experience, which he shares...

Latest answer posted February 11, 2021, 4:32 pm (UTC)

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Night

In Night's most famous passage, Elie relates how he will never forget his first night at Auschwitz: Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 12:34 pm (UTC)

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Night

From the moment he enters Auschwitz, Elie is systematically stripped of his identity by the Nazi regime. His head is shaved, and he is forced to wear a uniform, making him indistinguishable from...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 12:56 pm (UTC)

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Night

Silence is a powerful and persistent theme in Elie Wiesel’s Night. He wrote the book in part to challenge the world’s silence concerning Nazi atrocities. In writing it, he also broke his own...

Latest answer posted February 14, 2021, 1:40 am (UTC)

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Night

In literary history, Elie Wiesel's Night is most significant as a benchmark in Holocaust literature. Its publication in 1960 paved the way for other such memoirs to emerge. As a teaching tool...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 1:24 pm (UTC)

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Night

Moishe the Beadle’s fate is left unresolved. Moishe the Beadle serves both as the seminal warning of impending doom and as the central theological presence in the young narrator’s life. Holocaust...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 3:24 pm (UTC)

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Night

In Elie Wiesel’s book about his and his family’s horrific experiences in Nazi Europe, work could be interpreted as a symbol of false hope. In Sighet, Eliezer’s father learns that the ghetto that he...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 3:42 pm (UTC)

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Night

Although his sick father begs him for water, Eliezer does not want to give it to him. His father is suffering from dysentery, and Eliezer knows enough about the camps to realize that the dysentery...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 3:48 pm (UTC)

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Night

In Night, Eliezer directly and indirectly documents the deaths of many specific people. At the beginning, through Moishe the Beadle, Eliezer relays the deaths of a young girl named Malka and a...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 5:37 pm (UTC)

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Night

The events of April 10th, 1945 are described in chapter 9, the final chapter of Night. After the death of his father in the previous chapter, Eliezer is feeling as low as possible. He is too...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 5:48 pm (UTC)

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Night

Juliek's violin in Wiesel's novel Night is a symbol for hope, passion, faith, and even optimism. By playing the violin in a dark and tiny barrack filled with dead bodies and other Jewish prisoners,...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2021, 12:14 pm (UTC)

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Night

Bread symbolizes the way life in the camp is reduced to its most basic essentials. Early on in his time in the camp, Eliezer is visited by his relative Stein, also a prisoner, who tells him to...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2021, 12:52 pm (UTC)

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Night

After the Nazis take over Hungary, the Jews are persecuted, made to wear yellow stars, and forced to live in special Jewish ghettoes surrounded by barbed wire. Initially, the Wiesel family is...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2021, 1:16 pm (UTC)

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Elie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928. The Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated by the Americans on April 11, 1945. Wiesel would have been sixteen years old at the time. This event is...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2021, 1:23 pm (UTC)

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Night

Chlomo's last words are repeating his son's name, Eliezer, over and over again. By the time Elie and his father Chlomo arrive at the Buchenwald concentration camp, the latter has taken a turn for...

Latest answer posted February 12, 2021, 12:17 pm (UTC)

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Summary