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Book Review: Night by Elie Wiesel

Book Review: Night by Elie Wiesel

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Without {faith} no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all.” - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1986

I am really drawn to World War II books, whether non-fiction, fiction, or memoirs. I had never read Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, even though it is a book that most every middle or high school student reads in school. It is not very long, only about 120 pages, but Wiesel packs so much into those pages. Even though I’ve read accounts of concentration camps, each story about them still makes me cringe. Knowing that humans are capable of such horrible acts to other humans repulses me. Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his writing and advocacy about the Holocaust and making sure no one forgot the atrocities that the Jewish people (and other minorities) faced.

Wiesel’s wife Marion translated this new version, published in 2006, 40 years after the original publication. In the 51 years since Wiesel first published his account, there have been more books written about the Holocaust and World War II in general. But as more survivors are now passing away due to old age (Wiesel died in 2016), it is imperative to make sure we preserve their stories, so no one forgets or belittles this time in history.

Wiesel was a prisoner at both Auschwitz and Buchenwald camps. He and his father were separated from his mother and younger sister when they first got to Birkenau. Wiesel and his father were able to stay together until his father died at Buchenwald just 4 months before American troops came to liberate the camp. Wiesel said that one of the reasons that helped him keep up his strength to make it through was staying strong for his father. And he felt so much guilt and shame when his father died, and he did nothing to help him.

I cannot imagine going through what Elie and others went through. I would like to think that I would be strong enough to join the underground resistance movement, but honestly I don’t think that I would have been able to endure. I enjoyed reading Wiesel’s memoir and look forward to reading the other two books in his trilogy, Dawn and Day. I give it 4 stars.

Let me know your favorite World War II memoirs.

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