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Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was fifteen years old when he and his family, living in Romania, were placed in a ghetto and then deported to Auschwitz, and later Buchenwald. He lost his entire family in the concentration camp and it's painful to read, knowing that would happen. He became A-7713, and eventually he did loose his identity. 

He portrays the dehumanization process very well. How the SS officers treated the people, reduced them and made them forget their value. When confronted by the evil of men, the prisoners loosed their identity. Wiesel watched people stop caring about their families, leaving them. He thought it horrible. It seems that many people went through a major transformation, not only physically, but psychiologically, as well. They handled such strong feelings, and eventually, they run out of them, or they become immune. Perhaps it was a defence mechanism. Wiesel describes a situation where everyone was struggling to survive, every man for himself. No one could afford to care much about anyone else. It takes you one step closer to get a glimpse of how life was during that time. Sons stopped caring about their fathers. People fighting, even killing, for a piece of bread. Eventually, when Wiesel's father was getting weaker, he realized that he had become one of them, an unbearable thought. It's terrible to read about. I understand his thoughts, but I think he really tried. He managed to not be separated from his father, but remained with him for eight months. They worked under unbearable, excruciating circumstances, and he tried to help and support his father, but admits he failed. It is one of the most heart-breaking parts of the book. After seeing his father changing, starving and suffering from dysentery, he realized that he couldn't help him, and even if he could, he didn't have the energy to do it, which made him ashamed. Wiesel is very honest to admit this about himself.

The prisoners weren't treated as human beings. They had no dignity, nothing left. It's very well portrayed how exhaustion and hunger might change a person, take away his will to help people and even his will to live. Living in such a world, Wiesel lost his will to survive, his faith and his innocence. Even on liberation day, people didn't think about revenge. They just wanted bread.

After the war, Elie Wiesel has worked as a professional journalist and international correspondent, devoted himself to political activism, tried to join underground movements, and started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. For ten years after the war, he refused to talk about his time in the concentration camps. After a conversation with an author, he changed his mind, and wrote the 900-pages memoir And the world remained silent, which was later shortened and named Night. A film director approached Wiesel and suggested to make a movie based on the book, but he refused, claiming that a movie would destroy his story, which needed the silence between the words. In 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Price, and his acceptance speech is in this book. Despite all his achievements, Wiesel has asked himself if he has done enough. That makes me sad and ashamed. The least I can do is to read this book, trying to understand people's experiences during the holocaust, and promise to never forget.

Before being taken to Auschwitz, many people weren't able to believe in the final solution. There were some rumors, but they didn't think that such a thing could happen in modern time. The idea of an entire people, wiped out, was absurd and impossible to understand. Wiesel faced the truth when coming to Auschwitz and seeing the crematorium. It's still very difficult to comprehend that millions of people were wiped out. This book is so important, not only because it's about the holocaust, but also because of the humble, personal way it is written that somehows emphasizing the horror and the structures of evil.

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