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Transcript of Night
By: Elie Wiesel
The narrator, Elie Wiesel, lived in Sighet, Transylvania. They were forced into Jewish Ghettos, where they lived amongst their own faith.
Night of the Broken Glass occurred when a Jewish teenager retaliated against German forces. He killed a German officer, which led to the burning of Synagogues, Jewish schools, and hospitals. Many Jewish people were killed as a result of the retaliation. 30,000 men were arrested for their faith, and they later perished in concentration camps.
Another example of the great horrors the inmates experienced during WWII is the doctors that weren't the normal and helpful kind... Many concentration camp doctors conducted medical experiments on Jewish prisoners, such as inserting blue ink in their irises in an attempt to make their eyes blue. Dr. Josef Mengele , who is mentioned in , led many of these experiments.
This is an original recording of a shooting at a concentration camp in Liepaja, Skedes, 1941.
"Arbeit Macht Frel" translates to "Work Makes You Free". It can be found on the entrance to Auschwitz, which is an extermination camp.
Throughout this novel, setting is constantly mentioned. It impacts Elie's life, along with the countless other prisoners'. Since this is a non-fiction topic, information can be found about each place that Elie and his family went.
This is a Jewish ghetto, which is much like the ghetto that Elie and his family were forced into.
This sign can be translated to "Suburb of Jews, Forbidden to enter". In other words, Jews could not leave the ghetto, and non-Jews could not enter. This kept all people of Jewish faith in a localized spot, making it easy for German officials to later arrest and deport them to concentration or extermination camps.
People did not always obey orders as well as Elie and the rest of their town did. Uprisings were common, although they were not successful in overthrowing German forces. Germany was strong, and they had enough force to keep Jews under control and throw them into camps with ease.
"Three days later, a new decree: every Jew had to wear a yellow star"(11).
After the ghettos came concentration camps. Packed into cattle cars then locked inside, prisoners often died due to sickness and dehydration, while others succumbed to hysteria.
"Look at the fire! Look at the flames! Flames everywhere..."
Dr. Mengele was often referred to as "The Angel of Death" because he led the selections of Jewish prisoners, and many people were killed for not "passing". Most were executed by the use of gas chambers or the crematory.
Such massacres were not uncommon in concentration
camps. Sending a number of captives to gas and cremation chambers and hanging and shooting them were regular occurrences to keep the Jews and other prisoners in constant fear and to regulate the number of inmates left in the camps. Because of these unorganized killings it is hard for historians to comprehend the number of lives that were taken during the holocaust.
This is a map of many concentration and extermination camps found in Germany. Elie mentioned Auschwitz, and many of the sub camps located there, such as Buna, Birkenau, and Gleiwitz.
Elie and his father would have lived in the men's block. Elie claimed to be over 18, so he would have been expected to work as if he had been an adult. Most children and women who were unable to work would be executed, as they were seen as a burden to the camp.
Buna was another camp that Elie and his father were sent to. Buna was an extremely harsh camp, and they began their forced labor there. But, they were given more bread rations in order to continue working.
Once in the camp, Jewish prisoners were treated like animals. They were whipped, yelled at, trained using a bell, and hung if they were unable to follow orders. It was extremely dehumanizing, and prisoners often became skeletons of themselves. They only cared for their own well-being and encouraged stealing rations from the sick and dying. Many people abandoned loved ones for the sake of saving their own life.
Soviet forces began to gain ground during World War II, and they were nearing Auschwitz, along with many other concentration camps. In reaction to this, Nazis started to march their Jewish prisoners to keep them from liberation.
" The night was pitch-black.
From time to time, a shot
exploded in the darkness. They had orders to shoot anyone who could not sustain the pace" (85).
"You are in Auschwitz. And Auschwitz is not a convalescent home. It is a concentration camp" (Wiesel, 38).
Throughout the book we follow the changes of the main character and the other prisoners in the concentration camps. The dramatic impact of the environment they are forced to live in shapes their personalities. There is one word that describes this development better than others: dehumanization.
The prisoners in the camps are tortured to the point where they lose their human qualities and are no longer treated like human beings, but merely animals. All of their personal opinions and freedom of speech are taken away from them and they are not in control of their lives.
"So I was hiding out in a heap of dead bodies because in the last week when the crematoria didn't function at all, the bodies were just building up higher and higher. So there I was, at nighttime, in the daytime roaming around in the camp, and this is where I actually survived, January 27, I was one of the very first, Birkenau was one of the very first camps being liberated. This was my, my survival chance."
-Bart Stern, survivor of Auschwitz
“We ran up to them and they gave us hugs, cookies, and chocolate. Being so alone a hug meant more than anybody could imagine because that replaced the human worth that we were starving for. We were not only starved for food but we were starved for human kindness. And the Soviet Army did provide some of that.”
– Eva Mozes Kor, age 10, child survivor of Auschwitz
The Jews are deprived of their individuality when they are tattooed with numbers and are no longer addressed with their names.
"One day when I was able to get up, I decided to look at myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. 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).
Referred to as the "death march", prisoners were forced to evacuate in the middle of winter, marching day and night through deep snow and numbing temperatures. Those who were too slow to keep up or faltered were shot on the spot.
highlighted a brutal time in history that
was narrated by a survivor himself. His descriptions of life in a concentration camp were brutal. Life was not only difficult, but was on the verge of being physically impossible. But, against all odds, Elie Wiesel survived and went on to become a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. His words became a heart-wrenching novels filled with the impacts of dehumanizing conditions.
Starvation can do many things. It makes the body weak and fragile, but it also makes the mind insane. The people in the concentration camps were poorly fed and when a human body is suffering like that the only thing on that persons mind is survival. In the book, sons turn on fathers for a small piece of bread. The characters in the book are affected by the starvation and forget all they know about relationships and loyalty.
"First impression: Better than Birkenau" (Wiesel, 41).
"After 4 hours we arrived in the new camp: Buna. The iron gate closed behind us" (Wiesel, 47).
"We stayed in Gleiwitz for 3 days. Days without food or water" (Wiesel, 95).
Concentration Camp Quotes
First, some background information. The Holocaust started when Adolf Hitler came to power. He believed that the German race was superior and the Jews that "tainted the earth to them" were "inferior" and considered dangerous to the German racial community.
"Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this with my own eyes … children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me?)" (Wiesel, 32)
"Open rooms everywhere. Gaping doors and windows looked out into the void. It all belonged to everyone since it no longer belonged to anyone. It was there for the taking. An open tomb" (Wiesel, 17).
" "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you." For the first time, his voice quivered. "In a few moments, selection will take place. You will have to undress completely. Then you will go, one by one, before the SS doctors. I hope you will all pass. But you must try to increase your chances. Before you go into the next room, try to move your limbs, give yourself some color. Don’t walk slowly, run! Run as if you had the devil at your heels! Don’t look at the SS. Run, straight in front of you!" " (71)
In the end the prisoners were so exhausted and tired of fighting for survival that they started dreaming of dying. They were giving up because all of their will had vanished. Who would like to live in a world this cruel?
"I soon forgot him. I began to think of myself again. My foot was aching, I shivered with every step. Just a few more meters and it will be over. I’ll fall. A small red flame … A shot … Death enveloped me, it suffocated me. It stuck to me like glue. I felt I could touch it. The idea of dying, of ceasing to be, began to fascinate me. To no longer exist. To no longer feel the excruciating pain of my foot. To no longer feel anything, neither fatigue, nor cold, nothing. To break rank, to let myself slide to the side of the road …" (Wiesel, 86)