Written by Elie Wiesel
night_lrg-795985.jpg picture by Rasmoose23
night_lrg-795985.jpg picture by Rasmoose23

Summary: In the memoir Night, the author Elie Wiesel describes his hardships he endures with his father in the concentration camps. Elie and his father are separated from his mother and younger sister Tzipora forever once they are deported to the concentration camps. In the beginning of the memoir, Elie is living in the town of Sighet, Transylvania with his father Shlomo, his mother, his two older sisters, and his younger sister Tzipora. First, all of the foreign Jews are deported; the rest of the Jews the follow. Eighty Jews are packed into train cars, and are given no food or water. Upon the Jews’ arrival at Auschwitz, the first concentration camp, the men and women are separated; Elie unknowingly leaves his mother and younger sister Tzipora forever. Elie now becomes dependent of his father and vows not to leave his side. Throughout the duration of the time Elie spent in the various concentration camps, he loses his faith in God, becomes dependent of his father, and witnesses his fellow Jews transform from men into monsters, contemplates leaving his father, and loses his father at the end of the memoir due to dysentery. Elie, strong enough to make it through the hardships World War II brings him, is forced into self preservation by the acts of the Nazis. During April of 1945, Elie the Jews who survived are liberated from the concentration camp Buchenwald.

Description of Major Characters:

Eliezer Wiesel - He is the son of Shlomo and is the main character in Night. He has two older sisters and a younger sister named Tzipora. He studies the Kabbalah under the supervision of Moishe the Beadle.

Moishe the Beadle - He was Elie's mentor while he studied the Kabbalah. He was deported with all of the foreign Jews of Sighet, manages to escape, and attempts to warn the Jews of the horrors that await them at the concentration camps.

Shlomo Wiesel - He has a wife, three daughters, and a son, Elie who is the main character. He endures all of the hardships from the concentration camps with Elie, and passes away at the end of the book from dysentery.

Stein of Antwerp - He is a relative of Elie and Shlomo. He meets up with Elie and Shlomo in the concentration camps, and is only living for his family. He passes away after he finds out that they have perished.

Rabbi Eliahou's Son - He is the son of Rabbi Eliahou. He leaves his father in the dust while the Jews are running to a new concentration camp; he left his father behind to fend for himself.

Likes: Something that I really enjoyed about Night was that it was a true story, describing the life of a Jew who endures the Holocaust. Night is not a historical fiction novel starring a make believe character with bits and pieces of research about the Holocaust woven into it, but a memoir about the tragedies that one boy and his father endure together, and the tales and horrors that they experience. I liked this most about the book.

Dislikes: Something I did not like about the book is how horribly the Germans treated the Jews while they were in the concentration camps. The Germans mistreatment of the Jews caused them to resort to dehumanization in order to stay alive while they were in the concentration camps. Sons turned against their elderly fathers to increase their chances of survival, and I did not like that.

What can we learn from reading this book?
From the book Night, we can comprehend how fortunate we are not to have endured anything as epic as the Holocaust that the innocent Jews of Sighet had to. We can also learn from this book that when essential every day needs are taken away; we will resort to dehumanization in order to survive. We will kill if we must to stay alive even one moment longer than someone else; we can turn against our own friends and even family members in hope of survival.

Answers to Essential Questions:

· What are the root causes of persecution?
o The root causes of persecution are hatred and jealousy. Hatred and jealousy fuel persecution because, for example, if someone is jealous towards how you look, they want to get even, which takes a snowball effect that can lead to persecution.
· What are some current examples of persecution that take place in today’s world?
o Some current examples of persecution that take place in today’s world are occurring in developing nations. Women are not being treated with respect, and are instead bombarded with sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings, and mass rapes.
· What does Night teach us about what it means to be human?
o Something that Night teaches us about what it means to be human is that we are not perfect; we as humans make mistakes. The Germans were wrong for killing all of the innocent Jews that perished in the Holocaust.

Modern Persecution

Modern Persecution
· What is genocide?
· ‘Genocide is the deliberate extermination of a racial, religious, or ethnic group’ (Chambers Dictionary)
Rwanda, ‘a tropical Switzerland in the heart of Africa,’ was not always full of beauty, especially during the time of genocide. Tutsis – land owners – and Hutus – the people who worked the land – had lived in peace for 600 years. European colonists alienated the Hutus from being taught how to live the lifestyle of an aristocrat; leaving the Hutus to become peasants and some Tutsis to become aristocrats. In 1956, the Hutus would rebel, and 100,000 lives would be lost, and in 1959, the Tutsis would be stripped of their land by the Hutus and move to exile in neighboring countries. In 1962, an inexperienced Hutu government took to power, and a civil war broke out in 1990. Genocide broke out when the plane carrying Rwanda’s president was shot down on April 6, 1994; Hutus who weren’t anti-Tutsi and Tutsi wives or husbands would be the first people killed. Up to one million people perished before the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) was able to take full control. Thousands of Tutsi men, women, children, and babies were massacred by the thousands in schools and churches while the public watched and listened helplessly from their television screens and radios. The United States was asked and delivered 50 armored personnel carriers to Uganda to rescue what survivors were left. France had advised the Hutus to cover the corpses with banana leaves to hide them from camera view. By the end of 1995, people disagreed with calling this incident genocide, but would agree it was a civil war and some massacres occurred. In 1996, refugees were released from camps in Congo; many returned home, but some stayed in Congo to live as nomads and fugitives. Two years after the genocide ended, killers and survivors were living side by side in Rwanda. The president of Rwanda wanted the people of his country to live in peace as they did 600 years previous to the genocide.

· Saving the Women’s World
Women and girls are being treated unfairly in developing nations, and are being bombarded with sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings, and mass rapes. Saima Muhammad was beaten every afternoon by her husband; she turned her life around by borrowing $65.00 and starting her own embroidery business, employing thirty families in all; she paid off her husband’s $3000 debt. Saima is now planning on sending all three of her daughters to high school, and maybe then to college. In China, 39,000 female babies die yearly because they do not receive the same medical care from their parents that male babies do; in India, “bride burning” occurs once every two hours so men can remarry and girls between ages one to five are twice more likely to die than boys their age. In poor countries, a woman dies every minute while giving childbirth. A beautiful fourteen girl, Abbas Be, worked in a brothel in New Delhi; she was rescued by police and entered a shelter sponsored by Prajwala, where she is being educated to become a bookbinder. Peasant women made money by working long hours in factories – in countries like China – and helped to support their families. It is common, in poor countries, to see the man of the household wasting the little money they have on pleasures like alcohol and sweets; when a woman is the main source of income for a family, the money is more likely to go towards food, medical care, and housing. Sometimes foreign aid is unsuccessful, but it can also be very helpful; the delivery of vaccinations has decreased the number of children dying under the age of five by 10 million children today from 20 million in 1960. In poor countries, women are the key to ending hunger and may be the highest-return investment in developing countries. To give women more power in society could potentially increase terrorism and extremism. A study in Kenya proved that giving girls a $6.00 school uniform every 18 months dramatically reduced the number of dropout and pregnancy rates. Also, there is increasing evidence that helping high school girls with menstruation is a cheap way to assist them in school. Heifer International is a charitable organization out of Arkansas that gives cows, sheep, and chickens to farmers in poor countries. Tererai Trent was not allowed to go to school because her parents wanted to send her brothers, “the breadwinners,” instead; she taught herself to read from her brother Tinashe’s text books, and did his homework every night. She was finally allowed to go to school, but was married off at age 11; her husband did not allow her to attend school. Tererai began studying on her own in secrecy while raising her five children. In 1998, she was admitted into Oklahoma State University; she is now working on her Ph.D. at Western Michigan University.

· Human Rights Organizations
“WITNESS” is a human rights organization that uses videos and online technologies to show the world that human rights are being violated. WITNESS, along with 12-15 other human rights organizations, get together for one to three years to train the organization on how to use the power of video within the campaign. WITNESS began in 1988 by Peter Gabriel, as he used his Sony HandyCam, to record the stories he heard on his Human Rights Now! Tour. Footage of Rodney King, Jr. by Los Angeles police was seen all around the globe. This footage proved the strength in the power of video and how it could be used to capture the world’s attention and focus it on human rights being abused.

· Root Causes of Oppression
The root causes of this kind of oppression are the government and human rights being abused. If the government will not give needy people aid, how are they supposed to survive? Actions need to be made that involve sheltering those less fortunate, and supplying them with the food, water, and medical attention they need. Abused human rights are also a root cause. Developing countries, like India and Africa, need to give rights to women; in India, families are more likely to be better off with a woman supplying the main source of income, because that money is going to be used towards nutrition and medical attention.

· Responsibilities as Sophomores
At Conestoga Valley, I think the responsibilities of sophomores are to assist our school and our community. We should take part in clubs and organizations like SADD and LEO Club that help others and the community. By helping out our community, we as sophomores are showing that we are caring students, and that we want to help those in need.

· Fighting Oppression
I think we can fight these kinds of oppression by having teenage girls take part in student government and Student Council, so they have a chance to freely speak their minds and practice being a part of a large community. Girls will be able to experience how it feels to be leaders, and they will become more independent leaders from their experiences through student government and Student Council.

Night Essay

Dehumanization in Night
In the memoir Night, Elie Wiesel, the author, describes his hardships he endures with his father in the concentration camps. Elie and his family leave the small town of Sighet, unaware of what horrors await them at Auschwitz, the first concentration camp, where Elie and his father leave Tzipora, his younger sister, and his mother forever. Wiesel paints a picture in the reader’s mind of what images he saw and his experiences during his time in the concentration camps through this memoir. The hardships alter Elie’s life forever, and change his fellow Jews from cultured men to monsters. The Nazi’s dehumanization of the Jews turned them from civilized men into animalistic monsters.
In the beginning of Night, the Germans subtly and slowly start their long process of dehumanization. At first, “A Jew was henceforth forbidden to own gold, jewelry, or any valuables” (10-11). Once the Germans had invaded Sighet, they had set forth new laws that the Jews had to abide, and that was only the beginning. Besides having their valuables taken away from them, the “Jews were prohibited from leaving their residences for 3 days, under penalty of death” (10). The last rash law the Germans in Sighet would decree stated that “Every Jew had to wear the yellow star” (11). They would wear the Star of David on their arm as a symbol to show the Germans who was Jewish, and who was not. The dehumanization of the Jews started with these actions of the Germans.
At the camps, the Nazis use a series of tactics on the despairing Jews that lead them down the path of dehumanization. They were successful by stripping the Jews of their identity. Once the prisoners were separated by gender, the men were dispossessed of their belongings, and headed straight to the barber. Elie looks back on the memory of when “Their clippers tore out our hair, shaved every hair on our bodies” (35). The Jews now looked alike, left without any hair on their bodies and their self esteem seized by the Nazis. After being decontaminated in the showers, the Jews were ordered to run, while they were being tossed their new apparel. “As we ran, they threw clothes at us: pants, jackets, shirts…” (36). The Nazis gave the Jews prisoner garb, consisting of pants, jackets, and shirts in all shapes and sizes. The last attempt to take away the Jews’ identity was to be rid of their names. Each prisoner was given a letter and number; this new ‘name’ was then permanently tattooed on their arms by a veteran prisoner. Elie, who had become A-7713, reminisces, “From then on, I had no other name” (42). Through the actions of the Nazis, the Jews were led straight down the path of dehumanization.
As a result of this dehumanization, the Jews revert to self preservation mode, which caused them only to care about themselves. While the Jews were being corralled like cattle in roofless train cars, German spectators found fun in throwing bread crusts into the cars. Elie remembered “the spectators observed these emaciated creatures ready to kill for a crust of bread” (101). Teenage boys were willing to beat their fathers in order to receive a single crust of bread. “There were two dead bodies next to me, the father and the son” (102). Elie had to witness a son beat his father to death and then watch the son perish; two deaths over a crust of bread. In addition, Rena Korb, who has her master’s degree in English literature and creative writing, and is the author of Critical Essay on Night, incorporates in her essay “…victims turn against other victims, Jews against Jews, and even sons turn against their fathers” (Korb 271). Nevertheless, the Nazis used another tactic to dehumanize the Jews; they turned sons against their own fathers in order to survive. The Jews sometimes forget they are living in concentration camps, but the Nazis are not afraid to remind them from time to time. Ted L. Estess, author of the book Elie Wiesel and a professor of religion and literature at the University of Houston, writes “Here there are no fathers, no brothers, no friends. Everyone lives and dies for himself alone” (Estess 96). Rabbi Eliahu’s son does not forget that they inhabit a concentration camp, and he runs away from his father forever during the run to the concentration camp Buna. Rabbi Eliahu’s son purposely runs farther away from his father, and tries to run to the head of the pack. “And he had continued to run in front, letting the distance between them become greater” (91). The Rabbi’s son “…had felt his father growing weaker and, believing that the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance of survival” (91). Consequently, once Elie and the Jews are liberated, “He thinks not of family, not of God, not of ideals, but only of food” (Korb 274). With the death of his father so near in the past, and because he has been deprived of food for so long, Elie does not care about anything else once he is liberated. The Germans have starved him so long; all he wants to do is find food. As soon he is liberated his thoughts are consumed of “Only bread” (115). Throughout the long process of dehumanization on the Jews, they are turned form men into animals.
In conclusion, the Nazi’s actions of dehumanization on the Jews transform them from civilized men into animals. “‘Something happened a generation ago, to the world, to man. Something happened to God. Certainly something happened to the relations between man and God, man and man, man and himself’” (Estess 94). What had happened to the relationships between man and himself caused the civilized Jews to evolve into from their lack of food, proper shelter, and clothing. The Jews were forced to resort to self preservation in order to survive; life in the concentration camps becomes survival of the fittest. “Deprived of these things, the self can hardly expect to find significance in life” (Estess 97). During the Jew’s time in the concentration camps, they lost their knowledge of how to live civil lives among one another. Friends turned into foes, brothers turned brutal against one another. By forgetting who they are and where they come from, the Jews accept their fate of dehumanization.

Works Cited
Estess, Ted L. “The Holocaust Poisoned Eliezer’s Relationships.” Elie Wiesel. N.p.: Frederick Ungar, 1980. N. pag. Rpt. in Readings on Night. Ed. Wendy Mass. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2000. N. pag. Print.
Korb, Rena. “Critical Essay on Night.” Nonfiction Classics for Students. New York: Gale, 2002. N. pag. Gale. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <>.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. Trans. Marion Wiesel. New York: Hill and Wang, 1958. Print.

Reflections on Essay:
· What did I learn from writing this assignment?
o From this writing assignment, I learned how to integrate quotes from secondary sources into my essay, and I learned how to more smoothly transition into the quotes I used with the help of coherence. I also learned how to cite secondary sources and reprinted materials as well.
· What did I do well on in this unit?
o Something I feel I did well on in this unit is creating better introduction paragraphs compared to my first essay on Inherit the Wind. In my introduction paragraph, I was able to better summarize what happened in the story, and I used more advanced vocabulary terms to describe what occurred in the memoir Night.
· What areas could I improve on?
o I still need to improve on integrating my quotations into my essays more smoothly. Since I just learned how to integrate quotations from secondary sources into my writing, I will apply this newly learned ability to my next writing piece, so my thoughts can transition more smoothly with quotations from the book.