Sunday, November 04, 2007


Night by Elie Wiesel

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have avoided this book for quite some time thinking it would be dark and depressing . After all, it is the author's account of the time he spent in the Nazi death camps at the age of 15. And it is dark, depressing, excrutiatingly sad, macabre, sobering, and incredibly, beautifully written. Elie's words as translated by his wife, Marion, convey vividly the dashed hopes and the realized fears of the inmates of these camps. At just 120 pages, this book manages to instill in the reader the horror of what happened to 7 million innocent people and the need to never let it happen again succinctly and eloquently. Even though it doesn't elaborate as gruesomely as other accounts I have read about the concentration camps, the emotional toll on the prisoners is almost as compelling as the deaths, hunger, sickness and torture. I found the most awful aspect is the author's repudiation of the God he had worshipped so strongly before his incarceration. Truly awful is that I could understand why. I found it a redeeming feature to include his Nobel acceptance speech in which he seems to have rekindled his relationship with God. This is a story that the world mustn't forget. I marked so many wonderful passages but here are a few that illustrate that power of Wiesel's writing.
"Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscience of mankind?" Preface to new translation
"For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget would be akin to killing them a second time." Preface
"The absent no longer entered our thoughts. One spoke of them--who knows what happened to them?--but their fate was not on our minds. We were incapable of thinking. Our senses were numbed, everything was fading into a fog. We no longer clung to anything. The instincts of self-preservation, of self-defense, or pride, had all deserted us. In one terrifying moment of lucidity, I thought of us as damned souls wandering through the void, souls condemned to wander through space until the end of time, seeking redemption, seeking oblivion, without any hope of finding either." "Night"
"This is what I say to the young Jewish boy wondering what I have done with his years. It is in his name that I speak to you and that I express to you my deepest gratitude as one who has emerged from the Kingdom of Night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them." Nobel prize acceptance speech
Rating: 4.5
Posted by Framed at 9:17 PM

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
My father was a child in Amsterdam, Holland during WWII, on the run from the SS in Germany during the latter part of the war, and in a Dutch Concentration Camp after WWII where he, his sister (who were half Dutch and half German) and their mother (a German married to a Dutch citizen) treated with the same despicable and inhumanity the Germans treated the Jews. Before his death, my father traveled the United States speaking of life when freedom is lost, in fighting for what you believe in and uppermost in his mind, was the incredible privileges we have as Americans.So thank you for blogging about this book. You reminded of the father I recently lost and how much I miss him. He was a great, great man.
8/11/2007 7:38 AM
Framed said...
Candace, thanks so much for sharing your insights. Your father sounds like he was a wonderful man.
8/11/2007 1:23 PM
Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
He was amazing, Framed. I miss him a lot. And you're welcoming, I will always tell about him. He lived an amazing life always reaching for the next great adventure.
8/11/2007 7:07 PM
Nymeth said...
This sounds like one of those books that really should be read. I will have to gather the courage to do it someday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

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