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Night Elie Wiesel
Transcript of Night Elie Wiesel
“Only yesterday, I would have dug my nails into this criminal’s flesh. Had I changed that much? So fast?” (39)
Charis Pang, Jonathan Chu,
Sophia Wan, Shanice Lam
CHAPTER 5 & 6
“My hand tightened its grip on my father. All I could think of was not to lose him. Not to remain alone.” (30)
As Elie spends a long time in the concentration camp, his humanity is being stripped away slowly. Although he continues to trust his father and cares for him, he doubts more and is more resistant to believe others intentions. His sense of righteousness is fading, it is no longer his first instinct to protect his father. Now, he cares more for himself instead of putting others first.
"I didn't know that this was the moment in time and the place where I was leaving my mother and Tzipora forever. "(29)
"I became A-7713. From then on, I had no other name." (42)
“It took us a long time to recover from his harsh awakening. We were still trembling, and with every screech of the wheels, we felt the abyss opening beneath us. Unable to still our anguish, we tried to reassure each other.”
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp,... never shall i forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky...never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.” (34)
In these chapters, it takes Elie time to realize the change in his life. Even though it took him long to believe when he saw the crematorium, he realizes that he is getting into a fathomless hole of uncertainty, fear, horror and suffering. All the terrifying situations he notices at the concentration camp, like watching children being burnt, are engraved into Elie’s memories.
“Why should I sanctify his name? The Almighty, the eternal and horrible Master of the universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank him for?” (33)
The best word to describe Eliezer's faith in chapter 2-3 is the word "doubt". After seeing babies being burnt in a crematorium, Elie's faith begins to drop. The flames he saw even took away his faith completely, as he states. From being a devoted, passionate Jew who wanted to study the Kabbalah, he got mad at God. He declared that God was being idle and silent about the things that were happening. Elie still believed that God existed, but he was unsure about God's absolute justice.
Throughout chapters two and three, Elie has nearly lost all his identity. His hair, mother and sister have been taken away from him. He does not own anything of his own, not even simple clothing or pictures. Worst of all, his name has been changed into a number. Most of the things you could use to describe him have been stripped away from him.
"Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. (34)
"So much for your curiosity! You shall receive five times more if you dare tell anyone what you saw!" (58)
"I shall remove your gold crown, that's all," he said, clearly indifferent. I thought of pretending to be sick: "Couldn't you wait a few days, sir? I don't feel well, I have a fever..." (52)
In this chapter, Eliezer's trust on humanity circles around two people: his father, and the French woman he meets. The French woman is a newly introduced character. She was one of the only people who gave him encouragement and sweet words. As he meets new faces or even old ones, he figures he can't trust them, including the dentist who wanted his gold crown. There was also a situation where his tent leader wanted his shoes. This chapter is the start of a war for the survival of the fittest. Everyone is striving to save their own life, who will be left for Eliezer to trust?
" She remained like that for some time, ......and she said in almost perfect German." (53)
Elie starts to discover secrets that should remain hidden, slowly gaining knowledge. For example, Elie has learned to have sealed lips around Idek for his own safety. We see that Elie has improved by keeping the clerk's true identity a secret. Unlike before, Elie does not have any insights on newly gained knowledge of any sort.
When Elie and the French woman happen to meet again, he said this to remind her of who he was:
"Idek, the Kapo...the young Jewish boy...your sweet words." (54)
"Where is merciful God, where is He?" (64)
Eliezer is wondering where God is. He is continuing to think that God isn't appearing. His faith isn't improving. He used to be really passionate of reading the Kabbalah and he used to read the Kabbalah day and night, but now he can't find that time do it anymore.
"For God's sake, where is God?" (65)
"The bread, the soup - those were my entire life. I was nothing built a body. Perhaps even bless a famished stomach. The stomach alone was measured in time. (52)
He liked my shoes; I would not let him have them. Later, they were taken from me anyway. In exchange for nothing, that time. (48)
Elie's focus on life is no longer focusing on Jewish law, but feeding his stomach. His shoes were taken away from him, and so was his gold crown. They were his only shoes left, and his gold crown was the only way he could eat. His identity is slowly fading away, as his possessions and priorities change.
"Why, but why would I bless him? Every fiber in me rebelled" (67)
"Here, take this knife," he said...."Also take this spoon. Don't sell it."...My inheritance....
Elie has been completely stripped from his
possessions until this point. His father gives
him his inheritance which consists of cutlery. He is gaining a materialistic identity. His character identity has changed too. Part of him used to seek God, now he is bitter towards God from the soul.
CHAPTER 7, 8, & 9
"Don't give in!" my father tried to encourage him. "You must resist! Don't lose faith in yourself!" (102)
"To have lived and endured so much; was I going to let my father die now?........."Father!" I howled. "Father! Get up! Right now! You will kill yourself!" (105)
Elie begins to loose faith or hope in anything good. But he still continues to have faith in his father's life.His father also has faith for others to live, just not himself. Day after day, he cares about his father and has faith in his survival. He does not become like others and make use of their father.
I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man. (68)
In these couple chapters, Elie feels strongly that God had betrayed him and the camp members. "My eyes had opened," he said, which shows how sure he was about God's "injustice". Meanwhile, Eliezer is slowly adapting to the camp routines. He knew what the selection meant. He knew it was something to be scared about. Such a nerve-racking moment would never leave his mind. Even though what Elie feels about his faith is surely stubborn, it is what he is observing. He is learning more and more about the camp everyday.
A terrible word began to circulate thereafter : selection. We knew what it meant. An SS would examine us.
"What are you, my God? I thought angrily. How do You compare to this stricken mas gathered to affirm to You their faith, their anger, their defiance? What does Your grandeur mean, Master of the Universe, in the face of all this cowardice, this decay, and this misery? Why do you go on troubling the poor people's wounded minds, their ailing bodies?" (66)
"Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because He kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death. How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end up in the furnaces?" (67)
Eliezer is angry with his God for neglecting His people and let them suffer physically and mentally. Eliezer becomes rebellious and defies God. He questioned why Jews were chosen to be tortured to death. Eliezer accused God for not merciful. He feels he is strong than this Almighty God. Instead of praying with other Jews, he feels like an observer only. Eliezer no longer believes in God. In fact, he does not fast on the Day of Atonement as a symbol of rebellion and protest.
I howled into the wind: They're dead! They will never wake up! Never! Do you understand?" (105)
"Leave him alone. Can't you see that he's dead?" "No!" I yelled. "He's not dead! Not yet!" And I started to hit him harder and harder. At last, my father half opened his eyes. They were glassy. He was breathing faintly. "You see," I cried. (99)
In this place, it is every man for himself, you cannot think of others. Not even your father...I listened to him without interrupting. He was right... (110-111)
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me. (115)
In chapters 7, 8 and 9, Eliezer finds it hard to stay being the caring man he is or used to be. When the Blockalteste told him to leave his father, Elie thought the he had a point. With a lot of hesitation, Elie still continued to help his father. The last words of his book says that he saw himself as a corpse. A man with nothing but skin and bones. At the same moment, he says the gaze in his eyes never left him. It would take him some time for him to develop back to the normal Elie, since the concentration camps were such a life stealing place.
We promised: in three days, when we could see the smoke rising from the chimney, we would think of him. We would gather ten men and hold a special service. All his friends would say Kaddish... And three days after he left, we forgot to say Kaddish. (77)
But, while running, he began to undo his buttons and yelled to me: "I can't go on. My stomach is bursting..." "Make an effort, Zalman...Try..."...He lowered his pants and fell to the ground...I soon forgot about him. I began to think of myself again. (86)
"Meir, my little Meir! Don't you recognize me...You're killing your father...I have bread...for you too...for you too..." (101)
"A thought crept into my mind: If only I didn't find him! If only I were relieved of this responsibility, I could use all my strength to fight for my own survival, to take care only for myself...Instantly, I felt ashamed, ashamed for myself forever." (106)
Eliezer is a witness to the inhumane nature of German laborers and a Parisian lady. They cruelly throw bread and coins to starving Jews and children. They take pleasure in seeing Jews fighting for a few crumbs on for a coin. Eliezer imploded the lady not to throw anymore coin. This shows Eliezer is a merciful person. Eliezer describes a scene of unhumanity. He witnesses the fight for food on the train to Buchenwald. A son beats his father to death for a crust of bread. The son sacrificed his father in order to save himself. Eliezer describes his behavior toward his father. Although he feels the force to leave his father alone and fight for his own survival, he immediately felt ashamed of himself. After all, he depends on his father for support. His love for his father allows him to endure the sufferings.
Eliezer is slowly losing his care for humanity. When it came to Akiba Drumer, he even forgot to say Kaddish for his death. He was too occupied with work and his hunger, that he forgets a friend. Then when the death march came, another friend of his came by, Zalman, who was exhausted and in an emergency. Eliezer was kind hearted enough to encourage him, but after Zalman fell, Eliezer continued running, running, and running... and only thinking of himself.
When the SS officers were deciding who to throw out, Elie's father happens to be lying on the floor, eyes closed, and not moving. Elie was the smart one. He was the one who knew his father was alive. If Elie hadn't told the SS officers that his father was alive, his father would have been thrown out of the train, abandoned forever. There was another time that Elie's father was exhausted and lying in the snow. Elie knew that if he fell asleep he would die because of exhaustion. He pointed to the ones who were "asleep", but actually dead already. Elie made sure that his father would not make the mistake of falling asleep, or else he would lose his father forever.