Series: The Night Trilogy #1.
Writer(s): Elie Wiesel.
Publisher: Hill and Wang.
Release Date: January 16th 2006 (originally published in 1958).
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Although reading is an escape from reality for many, it can also be a history lesson for others. Through the stories of those who have seen things that others haven’t, certain authors are able to convey gruesome events in their most raw forms for others to try and understand the scale of inhumanity that has reigned their world in the past. These true stories are never easy to read and are not sought out by everyone by mere fear of the despair that would inevitably overwhelm them. But do you know what history is for? For us to learn from it and do everything in our power to make a better future for us, but also for every generation to come. And sometimes, real change starts with the person you see in the mirror.
Night is the story of Elie Wiesel, accompanied by his father, throughout the Nazi German concentration camps in 1944 and 1945. Only a teenager when his life turned into a living hell, his time both in Auschwitz and Buchenwald has brought him to realize some of the toughest lessons a child could ever learn and never forget. This very short book recounts all the atrocity that he has had to run into and demonstrates the darkest side of human nature in a context void of hope and comfort. Initially written in 1954 as a 862-page script in Yiddish, it was later translated in French thanks to the help of novelist François Mauriac in 1958, and then in English in 1960. To this day, this piece by Elie Wiesel is one of the most compelling and eye-opening account of World War II that has ever been immortalized.
It would be an under-statement to say that Night was a traumatizing story. Its silver lining lies solely in the fact that those who take the time to read Elie Wiesel’s story will continue on with their lives knowing what needs to never happen again. Its the act of not forgetting what once was that gives this book a meaning and lets it transcend beyond its written form and take a life of its own. The events in Night can be quite shocking and never seize to surprise its readers as it continuously bombards you with realizations by Elie Wiesel that there is always something worse that could occur even when you think it could not be possible. His own introspection about the existence of God can be demoralizing. But the most shocking about it all is how hope pervades your thoughts into believing that things will change sooner rather than later. It’s the way mankind rationalizes what they live through in order to survive that makes this moment in history so devastating. But never knowing where the finish line is is what truly makes Night such a terrifying story. How much is too much? How long is enough?
And then there’s the relationship between each other. You’d imagine that being stripped of your dignity within concentration camps will make you look for solidarity among the oppressed in order to survive, but the longer the trial, the more you realize the burden that comes with caring for others. It’s that moment of realization that will destroy both physically and psychologically ever person enclosed within a concentration camp. There are things that happen in this story that make you realize how lucky we all are in the 21st century, especially those living in an industrialized society, those who have a roof over their head, those who are able to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although the physical pain of living within a concentration camp is horrible, this story also shows us how much a simple thought deep within our minds can be even more destructive.
After reading Night, I’ve come to realize that too many of us have been taking life for granted. Everything is relative, but there are still things we should never forget about what we have, but also about what we can now do, only because of the suffering and the fight of so many others in the past. Honestly, read this for yourself. It’ll easily shatter all glasses and let you see the world differently.