In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine mentions Elie Wiesel’s Night, and speaks of the power it held for her, the first time she could truly relate to someone. I was incredibly impacted by Clemantine’s story, so in order to better understand it, I wanted to go back and read Elie’s story. I quickly understood why this short, memoir style account of a Jew in Nazi Germany is so often required reading in high school curriculum.
by Elie Wiesel
Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Night is Elie Wiesel’s record of his time as a Jew in the reign of Nazi Germany from the moment he and his family were taken from their home to the moment he was liberated from the captivity and inhumane torture of concentrations camps. Having lost his family and his innocence, he dives into the deeper matters of life like what it takes for a man to mentally and physically survive one of the most terrifying times of a race in history and how his Jewish faith played into his journey.
“Poor Akiba Drumer, if only he could have kept his faith in God, if only he could have considered this suffering a divine test, he would not have been swept away by the selection. But as soon as he felt the first chinks in his faith, he lost all incentive to fight and opened the door to death.”
―Elie Wiesel, Night
“We were the masters of nature, the masters of the world. We had transcended everything – death, fatigue, our natural needs. We were stronger than cold and hunger, stronger than the guns and the desire to die, doomed and rootless, nothing but numbers, we were the only men on earth.”
―Elie Wiesel, Night
Awards (based upon my brief research):
Oprah’s Book Club
New York Time’s Bestseller
Elie Wiesel – Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
My Overall Rating:
4 – This is a powerful read. While the cruelties of concentration camps is not new to most of us, it’s still hard to read and to realize thousands of real people went through these things. Elie does a phenomenal job of packing his story into a small book. There were many details left out, and many time frames where the story was scant – I both wish he had filled in those times and am grateful to not have had to be reminded once again of the cruelty mankind can bestow upon mankind.
I greatly appreciated Elie’s sharing of the depths of his faith during this time. He was pushed to the place where he had to rely on God, to the place where he questioned God, and to the place where not many people go – of believing whole-heartedly God had turned his back on the Jewish people. Still, he remained faithful to the end of his life. He is an inspiration.