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Night Story Map
Transcript of Night Story Map
By Maya Lerman Horror Auschwitz (Birkenau) In Elie's home, he is devoted to Judaism and God. He prays nightly. Religion is a part of him almost subconsciously. "Why did I pray? Strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?" (Wiesel 4). Elie's community is aware of the war, but remains disconnected and in denial of the danger they are in. "Soon that was all people talked about. But not
for long. Optimism soon revived: The Germans will not come this far. They will stay in Budapest" (Wiesel 9). Family Elie has three sisters; Hilda, Bea, and Tzipora. His mother cares for the family as any good wife does. The most important member of Elie's family is his father, who, in Sighet, is "a cultured man, rather unsentimental" (Wiesel 4). Elie ends up separated from all of the women in his family, and he and his father grow together and change together. Moishe the Beadle Moishe the Beadle is Elie's religious mentor, before he becomes one of the first people expelled from Sighet - one of the first witnesses of the Holocaust. He returns to Sighet a hopeless man. The Jews will not listen to his warnings, and remain in their denial. "Moishe was not the same. The joy in his eyes was gone. He no longer sang. He no longer mentioned God or Kabbalah. He only spoke of what he had seen. But people not only refused to believe his tales, they refused to listen" (Wiesel 7). Moishe is a foreshadowing of what will soon happen to all of the Jews. He also is a reflection of what will happen to Elie's faith and hope. The Ghettos Once the Nazis arrive in Sighet, it's all over for the Jews, but still they remain in denial. "The Ghetto was ruled by neither German nor Jew; it was ruled by delusion" (Wiesel 12). Even as the jews are forced to follow more and more strict rules, they still cling to hope. "The Yellow star? So what? It's not lethal... (Poor father! Of what then did you die?)" (Wiesel 11). The Jews finally begin to realize what is happening when they are rudely expelled from the ghettos and put into horrible cattle cars. Elie begins to hate the Nazis. "Our eyes opened.
Too late" (Wiesel 23). The process begins of
stripping the Jews of their
humanity. " 'If anyone goes missing, you will all be shot,
like dogs' " (Wiesel 24). Mrs. Schachter Mrs. schachter is a prophetic character. She sees a vision of fire while on the cattle cars. This vision is a foreshadowing of the horrible crematoriums in the Auschwitz death camps. This vision also begins to instill fear in the Jews' hearts. "We tried to reason with her, more to calm ourselves, to catch out breath, than to soothe her...But it was all in vain. Our terror could no longer be contained" (Wiesel 25). "Work makes you free" (Wiesel 40). When Elie enters Auschwitz with his family and is left only with his father, the true horror begins. People still cling to their faith, even as they are
being stripped of their families and possessions. " 'We musn't give up hope, even now as the sword hangs over our heads' " (Wiesel 31). Not only are the Jews being stripped of material things, they are also being continuously stripped of their humanity. I became A-7713. From then on, I had no other name" (Wiesel 42). "For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank him for?" (Wiesel 33). Elie experiences the gradual loss of faith throughout the book, but his trust in God begins to weaken when he sees all of the horror at Auschwitz for the first time. Witnessing the atrocities at Auschwitz caused Elie great psychological and emotional trauma. This brings up the question: would it have been better to die a naive and sheltered boy? Is life worth these things? Elie chooses to fight on, barely. "The Student of Talmud, the child I was, had been consumed by the flames. All that was left was a shape that resembled me. My soul had been invaded - and devoured - by a black flame" (Wiesel 37.) Stein of Antwerp Stein of Antwerp is a perfect example of the power of faith, and the deadliness of the loss of faith. Stein is a relative of Elie and his father. He asks for news of his family, and Elie lies, telling him that his wife and kids are safe and happy. This knowledge alone sustains Stein. When he finds out what really happened to his family, he dies. "We never saw him again. He had been given the news. The real news" (Wiesel 45). Elie is mainly able to stay alive because he has his father to push him and remind him of who he is. Without someone to lean on and care for, or something to believe in, people die very quickly. While Elie loses his faith, he is also losing his humanity. Akiba Drumer Akiba Drumer represents the Jews' collective loss of faith. At first, he tells the Jews to trust in God. "He wants to see whether we are capable of overcoming our base instincts, of killing the Satan withing ourselves" (Wiesel 45). Later, Akiba appears again. He has given up on life, given up on God. His faith was the only thing keeping him alive. "As soon as he felt the first chinks in his faith, he lost all incentive to fight and opened the door to death" (Wiesel 77). Akiba Drumer represents the Jews' loss of faith in another way as well. Before he is taken away to his death, he has one request. For the Jews to say Kaddish, or the prayer for the dead, for him when he is gone. Of course, the Jews agree. But they have become so absorbed with self preservation, so survival based, that they forget Akiba and God. "And three days after he left, we forgot to say Kaddish" (Wiesel 77). The Nazis do not treat
the Jews as human.
This has an effect
on how Elie thinks
of himself and
others. It is hard to
believe that you are
human when your are
being treated like a dog. This mistreatment
causes Elie to lose
the ability to find any
joy in life. He is slowly
dying within himself,
even if his body
continues to live. "I ran to look for my father. At the same time I was afraid of having to wish him a happy new year in which I no longer believed" (Wiesel 68). "Deep inside me, I felt a great void opening"
(Wiesel 69). Death Buna "I was nothing but a body" (Wiesel 52). After Auschwitz, Elie and his father are
transferred to Buna, a different concentration
camp. While in Buna, Elie's faith fades to barely a
memory. The Jews become dead to the horror around them. All they know anymore is death. Hanging of the Pipel Father's Beating Juliek People being hung in Buna is a regular occurrence. But when a young boy, called a Pipel, is hung, the Jews show just how dead they are inside. They watch the young boy's life being drained complacently, with almost complete indifference. What's the point of being horrified? It won't help anything. All they can think about is their next meal. "This ceremony, will it be over soon? I'm hungry" (Wiesel 62). Elie and his father work in a factory under a raging Kapo (Boss). One day, Idek the Kapo decides to beat Elie's father for no reason. Instead of helping, Elie hides and is angry with his father for bringing the wrath of Idek upon himself. This is another example of how the horrors that the Jews witness everyday have made them almost completely focused on the sole goal of their own individual survival. "Why couldn't he have avoided Idek's wrath? That was what life in a concentration camp had made of me..." (Wiesel 54) Juliek is a perfect example of the power of the human spirit. Where most Jews have their faith, Juliek has his violin. Juliek's last act is to play a piece on his violin. This is an example of how
we need something to
believe in, something
that brings us hope
and joy. Juliek dies doing
what he loves, and
in that way, dies proud
and fulfilled. "All I could hear was
the violin, and it was
as if Juliek's soul had
become his bow"
(Wiesel 95). Defeat Death March The Death March is the march that the
Jews are forced to undertake from
Auschwitz because the Nazis are trying to escape the coming
liberators. Death march is a very fitting title. People
who can't keep up with the pace are shot
on the spot and others drop dead from
exhaustion. The Nazis totally dehumanize the Jews during the march. Before there were snide remarks here and there, but the march marks the beginning of utter dehumanization. " 'Faster you filthy dogs!' We were no longer marching, we were running. Like automatons" (Wiesel 85). The Jews have barely any hope left. Elie clings to life only for his father. He has lost his God, his hope, his humanity. All he has left is his father. Elie refuses to leave his father with no one. "My father's presence was the only thing that stopped me. He was running next to me, out of breath, out of strength, desperate. I had no right to let myself die. What would he do without me? I was his sole support" (Wiesel 87). Rabbi Eliahu Rabbi Eliahu is looking for his son. He lost sight of him during the march. Elie believes that Rabbi Eliahu's son ran ahead in the hopes of being freed from his slow father. This represents the total and complete lack of humanity that the Jews are experiencing. People are willing to leave family behind in order to survive. Elie begins to doubt himself after seeing this. Hopelessness Buchenwald Buchenwald is Elie's last stop on his terrible journey before the liberation. This is where he loses his father. "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 conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last!" (Wiesel 112). Elie has lost all
sense of meaning in
life. If the liberation
had not happened
soon after his father's death, he too would
probably have given up all hope and died. "He had called out to me and I had not answered" (Wiesel 112). Liberation The liberation is bittersweet. Elie and the Jews have turned into complete animals, forgetting everything that made them who they were. "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in the camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. 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 flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived 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. Never" (Wiesel 34). Elie Has become a hollow body. He has lost all conncection to God. He has lost his parents, and one of his sisters. The horror that he has witnessed will never be forgotten. God has betrayed Elie by letting this all happen. He asked God to not let him become an animal caring only for himself. In the end, that is what he became. Elie watched his father die and was relieved about it. Where was God? Why did he let this happen? "Just like Rabbi Eliahu's son, I had not passed the test" (107). "A prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed" (91). "One more stab to the heart, one more reason to hate. One less reason to live" (109). "I was the accuser, God the accused" (68). "No thought of revenge, of our parents. Only of bread" (115). "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).