Wednesday, September 06, 2006

#12 - Night by Elie Wiesel

"Night'' is the first book in a trilogy by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Weisel, at 15, was sent to a concentration camp with his parents and sister. Wiesel was the only one to survive.

"Night'' is his story of being deported to Auschwitz and his later transfer to Buchenwald. Wiesel was 17 when Buchenwald was liberated on April 11, 1945.

His memoir was originally written in Yiddish in 1955, and later translated to English and several other languages to reach a wider audience.

Due to its nature and subject, "Night'' is a dark novel, befitting its title. But it drives home the absolute horror and evil behind the Nazi concentration camps.

The other 2 parts of the trilogy, "Dawn'' and "Day'', present Wiesel's memories of trying to deal with the experience.

"In Night," Wiesel said, "I wanted to show the end, the finality of the event. Everything came to an end — man, history, literature, religion, God. There was nothing left. And yet we begin again with night."

Reading this book was difficult, but the story is compelling. I can't imagine how those people felt being taken from their families, watching their children, parents, and friends die, and not being able to escape. I can't fathom the mind set of the Nazis who spent years murdering millions of innocent and helpless men, women and children. And I wonder how, in the years after the war, former German concentration camp soldiers were able to live with themselves, given the horrific things that they did, or that they allowed to happen.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. It's an open and in-your-face account of what Wiesel lived through. I think it's an important account to read, just to remind us of the events that happened. In today's world where religious prejudice between Muslims, Christians and Jews is still happening, it's important that we remind ourselves that it can go too far.

Christ teaches love, not hatred. Hatred can become so violent, and all encompassing. And it leads good people to do horrific things.

When I finished this book, the first thing I did was hug my 2-year old. Children and family are so precious, but we tend to take them for granted every day as we feel "safe.'' And the second thing I did was to say a prayer for all who died in the Holocaust, all who survived and had to live with their memories, and I prayed for the souls of those who participated in the atrocities that were inflicted on the Jews and other victims in Europe.

It's a very dark book.....but it definitely provokes deep and powerful thoughts.


Blogger Karla said...

This is a book I've been wanting to read. I think I hold back though because I'd be too emotional about the whole situation...concentration camps and all that horror that went on there. Thank you for the review, Juli! Just might have to take the plunge and get a copy of the book anyway. :)

8:54 PM  

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