Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize Winning work, Night, is a window into one of the darkest times in human history. Though many stories have been written about the Jewish Holocaust and the atrocities of Nazi Germany, the story cannot be told too many times. Wiesel’s brief memoir stands as a memorial to the victims of such senseless hatred and as a guard to prevent the world from reliving that awful night.
As a young boy, Wiesel and his family were taken from their homes, separated, and sent to various concentration camps. Wiesel lost his mother and sisters at the very beginning–after they were separated, he never saw them again. He and his father remained together through many of their sufferings, but ultimately his father died from sickness, starvation, and abuse.
Wiesel witnessed more terrible atrocities than even the suffering of his father. He saw infants thrown alive into the fires of the crematorium, young boys hung by the neck for displeasing the wrong officer, and fathers and sons tearing at each other like animals over a scrap of bread.
Eventually, Wiesel and other survivors were rescued by American troops. However, Wiesel does not pretend that rescue somehow meant salvation for himself or for the other survivors. His writing is terribly, viscerally honest, and he denies his readers any false promises of whole, healed, happily ever afters. He gives them no comfortable resolution, no neat little package. He tells, in plain, unembellished language, of one of mankind’s worst, most shameful moments, and he writes that the memories of that hell on earth will never leave him.
Hopefully with the help of Wiesel’s poignant, heartbreaking little volume, those memories will never leave us either.