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Book Review | Night by Elie Wiesel

Genre: Autobiographical, Holocaust

Elie Wiesel was 15 when the Nazis came for the Jewish community he belonged to in Singhet, Transylvania. What follows is a painfully honest memoir of his time there, written in a manner direct enough to send a shiver down your spine.

“Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky…”

Multiple books have been written and movies been created about the holocaust, but none manage to give a glimpse into human emotions similar to this one. The hellish living conditions bring out the worst parts of people living there. Wiesel witnessed a son brutally beating up his own father for a loaf of bread, and at times catches himself wishing death on his father, so that he could think solely about his own survival.

The inner spiritual turmoil of the author is also a deeply emotional part of the book. Wiesel was a strong believer in the presence of a higher power, but to witness the horrors of the concentration camps and still praise thy holy name? The concentration camp stripped him away of his faith in God, as he saw millions being separated from their families, and being burnt to death.

“Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.“

Night was one of the first books recounting the horrors of holocaust, and faced multiple rejections before being brought into circulation. It is an iconic work of literature since it created a genre of its own. Wiesel mentions in the foreword that he felt compelled to write this book in order to ‘bear witness for the dead and for the living’. He has done more than most to fulfill his duty.

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