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Transcript of Night
A memoir of the most tragic event in modern history By: Chris Pendergrass
1st Period Holocaust Nightmare Death
Suffering The Nazis take power in Germany Elie Wiesel's Purpose of writing is multi-functional. He writes to recreate and then: to reconcile with the blame of his father, to sensitize and prevent, and finally to reconcile with himself. He wants to reconcile with his father in order to cope with who to blame for going to the concentration camp. He wants to sensitize us in order or to prevent such another genocide. Finally he must reconcile with himself in order continue with horrible memories of the camp. Rhetoric Historical Context Insecurities
Hatred Caused Holocaust 1933 Germany is a Police State Jews transported Jews moved to ghettos Jews move to Concentration Camps Crematoria 1. Destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, esp. caused by fire or nuclear war: "a nuclear holocaust". Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed Never shall I forget the smoke Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever Wiesel is directing his book towards an Audience consisting of survivors, posterity, and himself. He directs it towards survivors in order for them to reconcile with themselves. Also, he reconciles with posterity, future generations, so they can experience the Holocaust and prevent another genocide. Finally, and most importantly, Wiesel directs it toward himself as a way to relieve himself of the blame. The Subject of "Night" is the experience of Elie Wiesel. He gives us the Holocaust as he experienced this nightmare. He wants us to experience as he did, which is an important reason for the book being written in first-person. This Holocaust experience of Wiesel is a nightmare of epic proportions. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky A background of the Holocaust Night A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family...the death of his innocence...and the death of his God. Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again. -Goodreads Moishe has seen the horrors that Nazis enforce. He loses his faith because of these nightmarish sights. “He no longer mentioned either God or Kabbalah… But people refused to believe his tales, they refused to listen.” (7). Moishe warns of the town’s impending doom but people refuse to believe him or to just listen. Their torture in concentration camps could have been prevented if they had heeded the warnings. Chapter 1: Moishe the Beadle Elie Wiesel experienced one of the most tragic events in modern history, the Holocaust. Although Wiesel writes Night in memory of his parents and his sister, Tsipora, he writes this memoir in order to deal with whom to blame for his imprisonment in the concentration camps. Elie Wiesel’s purpose for writing Night is to explain that God is the reason for their starvation, torture, and death as well as to forgive himself for blaming his father and so his father is also forgiven for not believing the warnings. The Jews had all identity, liberties, and freedom striped of their possession. “We no longer had the right to frequent restaurants or cafes, to travel by rail, to attend synagogue, to be on the streets after six o’clock in the evening. Then came the ghettos.” (11). This quote is found shortly after the Nazis take control of Wiesel’s town. The ghettos are the first form of imprisonment for Jews which could have been prevented. 3.Wiesel had recently seen his father cry, his mother solemn, and his sister suffering. “That was when I began to hate them, and my hatred remains our only link today. They were our first oppressors. They were the first faces of hell and death.” (19). He hates the Nazis. Nazis were his symbol of death and oppression which could have been prevented if his father had protected his family believing the warnings. Chapter 2: Mrs. Schachter Mrs. Schachter screams of fire and flames. This is a warning. “’Jews, listen to me,’ she cried. ‘I see a fire! I see flames, huge flames!’” (25). Once again the Jews are warned of the obstacles ahead. They have been told of the Nazis terror but do not believe it. They were being tortured by not by Nazis but by nature. “The heat, the thirst, the stench, the lack of air, were suffocating us.” (26). This torture is caused by a higher power that is out of their control. This hints toward God being the cause of their suffering. The Jews learn that Mrs. Schachter was not crazy but saw what others could not. Literally and figuratively. “In front of us, those flames. In the air, the smell of burning flesh. It must have been around midnight. We had arrived. In Birkenau.” (28). The Jews literally see the flames of the chimney. Figuratively she sees the nightmarish scenes of burning bodies and how much they would suffer, caused by his father’s and the Jews’ indifference towards the warnings. Chapter 3: Night Nazis were merciless and emotionally detached to their victims. “Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies!” (32). Even something as innocent as a baby, the Nazis will kill almost anatomically. This expresses Wiesel’s hatred toward his oppressors. Wiesel also wonders how God allows such innocent beings to be exterminated and burned. Wiesel sees the Nazi’s horrific nature for himself. This causes the loss of his faith and kills his soul and dreams. “Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.” (34). He cannot “un-see” or forget the actions and torment performed by Nazis. He loses faith in God and is killed emotionally and spiritually. Wiesel restates that he continues to lose faith and loyalty in God. “As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.” (45). He doesn’t just say he loses faith but he also considers that God is unjust toward his people. Chapter 4: Hanged Emotional agony is another form of torture. Elie Wiesel was beaten while his father watched. “I was thinking of my father. He would be suffering more than I.” (58). A father must watch as his son is beaten. His father would suffer more because of his inability to intervene and stop his only son’s suffering. This gives himself and his father a greater reason to blame his father for their imprisonment. There had been inmates in the camp planning for rebellion, but were caught before they could execute their plan. “Three prisoners in chains—and, among them, the little pipel, the sad-eyed angel.” (64). Soon after this they are hanged. It is not a coincidence that the pipel is described as a “sad-eyed angel”. He gives this angel description because he relates him to God and faith. A young man was hanged for rebellion which caused the question of where God then causing Elie Wiesel to question himself about God. “’Where He is? This is where- hanging here from this gallows…’” (65). Elie Wiesel suggests that God is in that young man… dead. He has lost all faith and belief in God. Chapter 5: Judaism The Jews and Elie Wiesel have suffered through so much that is makes them wonder if a higher power wants them to suffer. “Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled.” (67.) Wiesel believes God is indifferent toward the Jews’ well-being. He wants to resists anything associated with God. Chapter 6: The Run Wiesel’s father has been with him through thick and thin in and outside the concentration camp. At this time his father is not with him but he still provides for Elie Wiesel. “Even now my father is helping me.” (75). He loves his father and he is one reason why Wiesel has survived. He wants to reconcile with the blame he held toward his father. Elie is committed to his father in order for his and his father’s survival. “I had made up my mind to accompany my father wherever he went.” (83). Elie considers his survival and existence the only motivation for his father to continue to fight against death. The blame that his father holds is so great that there is almost no reason for him to live. The Jews have suffered through starvation, exhaustion, and brutal beatings yet they still were able to survive. “We were the masters of nature, the masters of the world. We had transcended everything – death, fatigue, our natural needs. We were stronger than cold and hunger, stronger than the guns and the desire to die, doomed and rootles, nothing but numbers, we were the only men on earth.” (87). They are able to conquer nature and are on top of the world. Elie Wiesel describes them as unbreakable and almost godly in the way that they are able elude death. Elie Wiesel has just narrowly escaped death from suffocation. “’Father, are you there?’ I asked as soon as I was able to utter a word.” (94). Shortly after just barely surviving, Wiesel’s first thought is his father’s well-being. His level of care is extremely immense toward his father because he knows the burdensome blame that his father carries as well as the fault Wiesel puts on himself for blaming his father. Hunger and starvation have been a major problem for the camp since day 1. “We stayed in Gleiwitz for three days. Days without food or water.” (95). To go three days with no food or water is pushing the limits of survival. Again, it is as if they are defying the laws of nature and are “masters of nature” or “masters of the world”. Chapter 7: Death Train Wiesel has witnessed the death of many people at this point, but not a death caused by other captives. “They jumped him. Others joined in. When they withdrew, there were two dead bodies next to me, the father and the son. I was sixteen.” (102). This death touches Wiesel in a different way, not just because they are killed by fellow captives, but because he is so young witnessing such a harsh death. Also Wiesel feels that it could be him and his father lying dead there. When Jews boarded the cattle wagons there were around a hundred per wagon including Wiesel and his father. “We had been a hundred or so in this wagon. Twelve of us left it. Among them, my father and myself.” (103). Only twelve of a hundred survived the journey on the death train. Wiesel and his father were part of the few to survive which bonds them even stronger to one another. Chapter 8: Free at Last Wiesel’s father was suffering from dysentery and was dying of an extremely high temperature. His father begs for more water so Wiesel complies with his pleas. “With these few mouthfuls of hot water, I had probably given him more satisfaction than during my entire childhood…” (107). His father’s suffering was so great that a few sips of water were more pleasing than Wiesel’s entire childhood. Wiesel feels obligated to comply with his father’s requests because he feels at fault for blaming his father and he knows how heavily his father blames himself for their imprisonment Wiesel’s father has been taken to the crematoria while Wiesel was sleeping. His father could have still been alive or he could have been dead. “I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep. But I was out of tears. And deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble consciences, I might have found something like: Free at last!...” (112). Wiesel is pained by his father’s death but he is incapable of expressing it. Although it pains him, sub-consciously he thinks to himself as being free of the burden as his father’s caretaker. Wiesel has had such a close bond with his father, now he is gone. Chapter 9: A Deathly Reflection Elie Wiesel sees himself for the first time since being in the ghettos and shocked by what he sees. “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). He is malnourished, ill, and his father is dead. Wiesel sees himself as a dead, lifeless corpse. Who is to blame? From Wiesel’s point of view God, and to a certain extent, his father. From his father’s point of view it is himself. The Ultimate Purpose Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprieved me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Forever Changed