We read about historical events, and we watch documentaries and movies. But to make it real, we read personal accounts. A well-written and personal account of the Holocaust is found in Elie Wiesel’s book, Night.
Wiesel, as a teenager, was removed along with his family to Auschwitz. The words used to describe the experience are breathtaking in the sense that it leaves you speechless or in tears. In fact, the words are many times written without emotion yet evoke emotion from the reader. As they arrive in camp, Wiesel writes, “A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes…children thrown into the flames.” There are no useless adjectives or adverbs. The author states what happen as though watching it all on a film in his mind.
To be able to get through two pages without tears forming in the readers mind is nigh impossible. The most intense passage stops you cold:
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.
Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.
There is no wonder that Wiesel struggled with why God allowed all of it to happen. He recounts the last moments he saw his mother and sister and how he watched his own father beaten death without lifting a hand. The reader cannot help but feel each emotion that Wiesel experienced.
This is one of the most excellent books that you can ever read on the Holocaust. It is short while giving you volumes to take in. No library on the Holocaust can be complete without this magnificent piece.
Disclaimer: This book was purchased by the author with her own funds.