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Night by Elie Wiesel

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anisa benton

on 17 April 2018

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Transcript of Night by Elie Wiesel

Quotation 1
Headline 2
Headline 3
Chapter 4 pages 47-65
autobiographical: true story
novel type: memoir
Published 1958
Sighet, Transylvania Romania circa 1940.
Chapter 1 pages. 3-22
Chapter 5
by Elie Wiesel

For this book, you will be responsible for keeping your own notes for basic details: who, what, where, when.
We will use this presentation time to talk about the WHY, the THEMES, and the poignant QUOTES.

*Belief, or non belief, in God
*Silence or lack thereof
*Inhumanity-treating badly
*Ignorance-not knowing / avoiding
*Passiveness-not standing up
*Fate-no say in your future
*Power or lack thereof
Elie's early life revolved around his
belief in God:

"Why did I pray?
Why did I live?
Why did I breathe?" 4

Ignorance to
what's going on:

Elie's father
"was more involved
with the welfare
of others than with
that of his own kin" 4

Before the war, Elie's father was "held...in highest esteem; his advice...was frequently sought"
in Sighet.

When foreign Jews
were expelled from

"crammed into cattle
cars by the Hungarian
police, they cried
silently." 6
"The train disappeared
over the horizon; all that was left was thick, dirty smoke." 6
Why do you
think when
Moishe the
Beadle came
back, Elie found
him "on a bench
near the entrance"
but not inside the
Even after Moishe came back "to describe to you my death so that you might ready yourselves while there is still time," Elie writes that "we, the Jews of Sighet, waited for better days that surely were to come." 8

What THEME does this fall under?
So, at the end of Chapter 1 (p 22), let's review the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and HOW of the book.

WHO is the main character?

HOW old was he when the book starts?

HOW old was he when he went to the concentration camp?

WHAT war is going on?

WHEN did that war start and end?

WHERE was he from?

WHERE did he end up?
What TWO themes do the following fall under?

"In those days it was still possible to buy
emigration certificates to Palestine."

"I had asked my father...to leave."

Elie's father's reply: "I am too old...to start a new life...from scratch in some distant land..."

"Yet we still were not worried." 9

"The Germans will not get this far." 9

"The ghetto was ruled by neither German nor Jew; it was ruled by delusion." 12
What two themes are these?

Once they knew they were being moved out the ghetto, the only person who knew where they would be going was "the president of the Jewish Council-But he would not tell, or could not tell."

Why? "The Gestapo had threatened to shoot him if he talked."

What would you have done?
How much time had passed since Moishe had told them to leave?
What kinds of things were
left behind in the ghetto
when they were told they
were going on a 'journey?'
Once they were in the cattle cars and away from SS officers, why didn't anyone try to escape?
"One person was placed in charge of every car: if someone managed to escape, that person would be shot." 22

Chapter 2 pages 23-28
Why is this an example of irony?

Once in the cattle cars,
"they could watch the blooming countryside flit by."
Ignorance (finally seeing the truth)
"Tomorrow could be worse yet." "Our eyes opened. Too late." 23
"We had fallen into the trap...
the world had become a hermetically sealed cattle car."
What does that mean?
Three days into their journey, Mrs. Schachter started screaming "Fire!"
Elie says, "she looked like a withered tree in a field of wheat." 25

What type of figurative language is that?
When the German officer entered the cattle car, what did he tell them would happen if they didn't hand over all of their valuables?
Once they arrived in Birkenau "strange looking creatures, dressed in striped jacket and black pants" came on the cattle cars and beat them and told them to get out.

Most likely, who were these 'creatures?"
Chapter 3 pages 29-46
Loss of Ignorance:
"The beloved objects that we had carried with us from place to place were now left behind in the wagon and, with them, finally, our illusions."
Inference. What does this passage infer happened?
Soon after Elie and his father were separated from his mother and three sisters, "Behind me, an old man fell to the ground. Nearby, an SS man replaced his revolver in his holster."
Why do you think a fellow inmate told them to lie about their ages?

What ages did he tell them to say they were?
I love you. Best teacher ever <3
What theme is this?

An inmate tells Elie and his father: "Didn't you know what was in store for you here in Auschwitz? You didn't know? In 1944?"

Elie: "We didn't know. Nobody told us."

Really? Remember Moishe the Beadle?
What theme is this?
Some inmates say "we must revolt."
But elders said, "we mustn't give up hope, even now as the sword hangs over our heads." 31
Why do you think Elie instinctively lied when Dr. Mengele asked what he did for a living?
He and his father were sent to the left. "We did not know...which road led to prison and which to the crematoria."

Another inmate came over and said, "Poor devils, you are heading to the crematorium." 32

When Elie heard this, what did he tell his father he wanted to do?
Foreshadowing coming true:
"not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. A truck drew close and unloaded it's hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes."

"How was it possible that men, women, and children were being burned and that the world kept silent?" 32

What two themes are present here?
"Everybody was weeping. Someone began to recite the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I don't know whether, during the history of the Jewish people, men have ever recited Kaddish for themselves." 33

And, "For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty...chose to be silent."

Yet, the closer he walked to the burning pit, he "found [himself] whispering the words: May His name be exalted and sanctified." 33
The "Never shall I forget" section:

"Never shall I forget...
the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night."

that smoke."

the small faces of children whose small bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky."

those flames that consumed my faith forever."

the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live."

those moment s that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes." 34

Who were in the barracks "to receive us, sticks in hand, striking anywhere, anyone, without reason."
And ordered them to "strip...and hold only your belt and your shoes." ?

Elie says, "For us it meant true equality: nakedness."
Elie says, "I too had become a different person...the child I was, had been consumed by the flames."

What does that mean?
"Suddenly, the silence became for oppressive."
SS officer says to the inmates, "Work or crematorium--the choice is yours."

Was it really that simple?
After Elie's father was struck down for asking where the bathroom was, Elie thought to himself, "What had happened to me? My father had just been struck in front of me, and I had not even blinked...I had watched and kept silent."
Why is this irony?
What other themes does it fall under?
What foreshadowed this?
"We were withered trees in the heart of the desert."

What figurative language was this?

What type of figurative language is this?

The signs on the electric fences read: "Warning! Danger of Death."
What figurative language is this?

The sign above the entrance to Auschwitz: "Arbeit Macht Frei"
"Work Makes You Free."
INFERENCE: when the author doesn't come right out and tell you exactly what's happening.

What INFERENCE is made about Stein's family?
On their march to Buna, they "saw some young German girls...They allowed themselves to be kissed and tickled...They all were laughing, joking, and passing love notes to one another."

What THEME is this?
And why is it ODD?
What was weird about their block leader in Buna (also called Auschwitz III)?
A boy told Elie he would make sure he and his father got good jobs if Elie gave him his shoes.

Elie wouldn't give them over, but "Later, they were taken from me anyway. In exchange for nothing, that time." 48

THEMES / Figurative Language?
Why is this ironic?

Franek to Elie, "Don't kill yourself. There's no hurry." 50
Their new blockalteste (block leader) in Buna was a nice guy, a German Jew. 51

What THEME does this go under?
What figurative language is this?

"The dentist...had a face not unlike a death mask." 51

What ultimately happened to the dentist?

Idek: their unit leader

Elie writes that he "threw himself on me like a wild beast...crushing me with ever more violent blows, until I was covered in blood." 53

What figurative language is used?

What theme is this?
Why was it such a risk for the French girl to comfort Elie after Franek beat him? 54
When Elie's father was beaten by Idek, "he seemed to break in two like an old tree struck by lightning."

What figurative language is this?

Where has there been more tree symbolism?
When Franek, who had been "pleasant and intelligent" became vicious over Elie's gold crown, he took it and a ration of bread. When Elie voices outrage, he tells Elie, "What would you like? That I break your teeth by smashing your face?' 56

Idek had an elaborate plan to take all 100 of his inmates to work on a Sunday so he could do what?
When Elie starts laughing about it, Idek says, "you will see what it costs to leave your work...You'll pay for this later." 57
After the siren rang, the two cauldrons of soup were left unattended and were "Two lambs with hundreds of wolves lying in wait for them" 59
What figurative language is this?
Why do you think the man who crawled to the soup cauldrons, and had gotten away with it, suddenly "let out a terrible scream, a death rattle such as I had never heard before and, with open mouth, thrust his head toward the still steaming liquid."

What happened to him?
When the camp was being bombed by Americans for more than an hour, why does Elie say "Every bomb that hit filled us with joy, gave us renewed confidence." Why?
One day, all the prisoners were summoned to the center of the camp to watch a hanging of a young boy who had already been there three years.
Elie says he was "a giant compared to me." 61
Elie remembers, "The thousands of people who died daily...no longer troubled me...But this boy, leaning against his gallows, upset me deeply." 62
After all the inmates were forced to walk past the dead boy, Elie says "that on that evening, the soup tasted better than ever..." 62-3
Some time later, a group of two adults and one young boy were hanged.
But, this time "the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing [and] he remained for more than half and hour, lingering between life and death...before our eyes." 65
After witnessing that, Elie writes "That night, the soup tasted of corpses?"
What does that mean, and how is it different from how he felt after the other hanging?
End of the Jewish year: Rosh Hashanah
But Elie said, "What are you, my God? I thought angrily." 66
10,000 men gathered to pray - "Thousands of lips repeated the benediction, bent over like trees in a storm." 67
Elie "rebelled" against God - "He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves?...He created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death." 67
After the new year, Elie and his father got put in separate block, and Elie got a new job. What was it?
Elie's new block leader had not been outside a concentration camp since 1933. What year is it? How long has he survived life in concentration camps?
When Dr. Mengele was doing a selection, Elie made sure that while he was running naked, Mengele didn't see his left arm. Why?
What do you think this means: "Whenever I happened to dream of a better world, I imagined a universe without a bell." 73
What happened at the selection that Elie's father didn't notice?
Why does Elie call the knife and spoon his father gave him, his "inheritance?"
After his dad passed the next selection, Elie gave him back his spoon and knife. Why do you think he did that?
What type of figurative language is this?
About winter: "From the first hours of dawn, a glacial wind lashed us like a whip." 77
When Elie got to the infirmary he said, "I had forgotten that people slept in sheets." 78

But another inmate told him, "Here too there is selection: leave the infirmary."

Why do you think they would bother to operate on inmates?
Elie was supposed to recuperate for two weeks, but after two days they found out the Russians were approaching, and it was "like an injection of morphine." 80
They learned they were to be evacuated (moved out). What decision did Elie and his father have to make?
What did Elie learn after the war had happened to those who stayed behind in the infirmary?
Why did their blockleader make them clean up their block before they left?
Chapter 6
What does this mean?
"We had the feeling of being alive" when they were being marched out of the camp.
Irony: "We looked as though we were running away from them (the guards)"

Why didn't they just run away?
What figurative language is this:

"I'll fall. A small red flame...A shot...Death enveloped me, it suffocated me. It stuck to me like glue." 86
What was the only thing keeping Elie from collapsing during the run?
"I had no right to let myself die." 87
"For the liberating army...Let them know that here lived men and not pigs."
Figurative Language:
"A hesitant light began to hover on the horizon." 87
They made it to their first stop: an abandoned village.

"A few people slipped out of the ranks, hoping to hide in some abandoned building." 88
"The snow seemed to me like a very soft, very warm carpet."
His father gives him advice:
"It's dangerous to fall asleep in snow. One falls asleep forever."

What does that mean?
All the prisoners of the Monowitz sub-camp, the camp near the I.G. Farben works, are assembled on the parade ground in the evening. They are formed into columns of 1,000 prisoners each. Divisions of nurses were placed among the individual columns. The columns lead through Bierun, Mikolow, Mokre Slaskie and Przyszowice to Gleiwitz, 850 prisoners remain in the prisoners infirmary, among them are assistant doctors, and 18 doctors

Babitz 159
Budy 313
Plawny 138
Birkenau 15,158
Men & Women
Auschwitz 16,226
Men & Women

Total 31,894

As Elie and his dad walked around,
"Beneath our feet lay men, crushed, trampled underfoot, dying. Nobody paid attention to them." 81
Rabbi Eliahu and his son who have survived three years in camps--"And now-when the end seemed near--fate had separated them." 91
Elie remembers that the Rabbi's son had purposely run ahead of his father in the march.

Elie thought, "what if he had wanted to be rid of his father...free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival." 91

Belief in God?
"a prayer formed inside me, a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed: give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahu's son has done." 91
While resting at Gleiwitz - "my wounded foot no longer hurt...it had become detached from me like a wheel falling off a car..." At every step, somebody fell down and ceased to suffer."
In the crush of bodies, Elie "dug [his] nails into unknown faces,..biting my way through...No one cried out."
Why not?
Who was Elie on top of?
"who was this madman who played the violin here, at the edge of his own grave?...it was as if Juliek's soul had become his bow." 95
"When I awoke at daybreak, I saw Juliek facing me, hunched over, dead. Next to him lay his violin, trampled, an eerily poignant little corpse."
In Gleiwitz, they had a selection.
What initially happened to Elie and his father?
What ended up happening?

Chapter 7
They left Gleiwitz in roofless cattle cars.
There were 100 in Elie's car.
"a tangle of human shapes, heads sunk deeply between the shoulders, crouching, piled one on top of the other, like a cemetery covered with snow." 98
Why did Elie say he "started to hit [his father] harder and harder."
After many days and nights of traveling in the train, it stopped.
A German worker "took a piece of bread out of his bag and threw it into a wagon...The worker watched the spectacle with great interest. 99
Figurative Language?
How does that make you feel?
Soon, many people gathered at the train: "They had undoubtedly never seen a train with this kind of cargo." Then more people started throwing bread in the train.
Were they doing that to be nice?
Why or why not?
The prisoners were fighting for the bread, and an old man gets killed for his piece. Who killed him?
What happened to the person who stole the old man's bread?
Why do you think Elie made a point of telling the reader after that story, "I was sixteen?"
Why do you think the reader only finds out what Elie's father's name is on page 102?
What is his name?
Of the 100 people who started off in the cattle cars from Gleiwitz, how many remained when they arrived at Buchenwald?
Chapter 8
In Buchenwald, Elie's father Shlomo, says "I can't anymore...It's over...I shall die right here."

Role Reversal: Elie, "pointed to the corpses around him; they too had wanted to rest here." 105
"To each what he deserves"
Elie's dad wasn't fed because they said he "would die soon, and that it would be a waste of food."
What disease did he have?
"For a ration of bread I was able to exchange cots to be next to my father." 108

What was his father's last word? 112
Elie was upset because "He had called out to me and I had not answered."
Chapter 9
Elie's reaction to his father's death:
"I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep...[but thought] Free at last!"
Elie doesn't tell the reader about his time in Buchenwald's children's block "since my father's death, nothing mattered to me anymore." 113

Why do you think he was put with the children?
Elie's "only desire: to eat. I no longer thought of my father, or my mother...I could dream...only about...an extra ration of soup."
April 5, 1945: news that the camp would be liquidated
April 10: they had not eaten for six days.
April 11: "the resistance...decided...to act"
The SS fled.
6pm: first American tank arrived.

After being freed, there was "No thought of revenge or of parents-only of bread."
Three days later, he got sick and was in the hospital for "two weeks between life and death." 115
Elie hadn't seen his face since the ghetto:
but now, in "the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me...The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me."
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