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Night by Elie Wiesel
Transcript of Night by Elie Wiesel
Who is Elie Wiesel?
Born 1928, Sighet, Romania/Hungary
1941: with his family, was deported to the Nazi death camps in Poland
Lived in an orphanage after liberation
Studied Journalism at the Sorbonne in Paris
Taught at Yale University and Boston University
1986 - won the Nobel Peace Prize
The Third Reich - Nazi Germany
Post World War I, the Nazi Party, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (in German) won control of the German Reichstag (parliament)
Led by Adolf Hitler, the Nazi Party was a fascist party that ruled in a dictatorial style, promoting the "Aryan" race and the German state
1935 - the Nuremburg Laws marked the beginning of the state-official anti-Semetic persecution that ultimately led to the Final Solution
Adolf Hitler was the leader of the Nazi Party and commander of the Third Reich
Aided by his SS (Schutzstaffel) and Gestapo commanders, Hitler engineered the Final Solution to the Jewish Problem,
The Final Solution
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The Holocaust and Judaism
Last portion of a decade of anti-Semitic practices
1941 - Nazi invasion of USSR began, and SS units began massive killing operations aimed at entire Jewish communities
Autumn 1941 - mobile "gas vans" designed to pump carbon monoxide into enclosed spaces and kill those within; large-scale shooting operations
Autumn 1941 - SS chief Himmler gave the Nazi general of occupied Poland permission to begin a systematic killing of all Jews in Poland - killing centers were established in Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor
The Final Solution
1942 - Himmler designed "Auschwitz II" or "Auschwitz-Birkenau," as a killing center as part of the already-existing Auschwitz concentration camp complex
By the time of liberation of these camps, these men had killed 6 million Jews, and thousands of Roma gypsies and other minority peoples
Reichsführer of the SS, 1929 - 1945
Responsible for conceiving and overseeing the Final Solution
Chancellor of Germany, Director of the Four-Year Plan, General of the Luftwaffe
Ordered SS general Reinhard Heydrich to organize a "total solution" to the "Jewish Problem"
SS General, chief of the secret police (Gestapo)
Directly oversaw the rounding-up of Jews for the implementation of the Final Solution
SS Lieutenant Colonel and head of Jewish Affairs
Organized the systematic deportation of Jews throughout lands of the Third Reich to concentration and then death camps
SS Physician, infamous for medial experimentation in Auschwitz II (Birkenau), "Angel of Death"
Presided over the "selections" of arrivals at the camp
SS Kommandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau
Responsible for carrying out Himmler's orders to build gas chambers and carry out the "Final Solution"
Auschwitz - Birkenau
Largest concentration and death camp - a complex of camps rather than just one camp
Auschwitz I, built 1940
Auschwitz II (Auschwitz - Birkenau), built 1941-42
Auschwitz III (Auschwitz - Monowitz or Buna), built Oct. 1942
Auschwitz - Birkenau: concentration and death camp, where Zyklon B gas was used to kill 960,000 Jews; approximately 74,000 Poles; 21,000 Roma (Gypsies); 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war; and 10,000–15,000 members of other nationalities (Soviet civilians, Czechs, Yugoslavs, French, Germans, and Austrians) between 1942 and 1944
Liberated by the Soviet Red Army in 1945
Judaism and Rememberance
Night is a memoir, not a novel or work of fiction
In the Jewish tradition, memory and remembrance are essential to the faith
Hope for the future - linked to memory, because at least it is not forgotten
Memory - both collective (a whole people) and individual
Jewish memory - based in the Torah (Deuteronomy 32:7) and other teachings of Moses
Living history - made up of memory
Obligated to remember, commanded to never forget
All material was gathered from Chabad, the American Holocaust Memorial Museum website, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Elie Wiesel's website