Elie Wiesel’s novel
Elie Wiesel’s novel, Night, is based on his experiences, during the second world war, in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Having grown up as a Jew in Sighet, he and his family were deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His father, who stayed by Wiesel’s side throughout the experience, had died shortly before the war ended. Night tells the horror stories of the holocaust through Wiesel’s eyes and how he slowly lost his faith in god, his , innocence, and his humanity. Night also shows how the Nazis had slowly dehumanized the Jews throughout the years. And in the process, they lost their own sense of humanity.
It all began with the identification process. When the jews were forced to wear the yellow stars immediately set them apart from everyone else. Jews were made to feel different, but most didn’t think it was that big of problem like Wiesel’s father who said, ” The yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal…” (Wiesel11). Then came new rules where Jews were required a curfew and weren’t allowed to travel freely. What began with restrictions and segregation soon transformed into mass murder and torture.
When the Jews form Sighet were forced to leave, “The Hungarian police made us climb into the cars, eighty persons in each one.”(Wiesel22). They weren’t treated as human beings, but as animals being transported. Over time, peoples personalities were provoked because of the harsh living conditions and brutality, causing animalistic tendencies. Especially in the concentration camps, where the only thing that mattered was survival.
Camps like Auschwitz, had taken away the individuality of each person that entered through their gates. They did this by taking away their identities and gave everyone a tattoo of a number on their arm. Said by Wiesel, “I became A-7713. From then on, I had no other name.”(Wiesel42). They all were expected to follow orders without questioning, and not allowed freedom of choice.
Dehumanization was intentionally used by the Nazis, which is the worst part about this. They caused physical and mental pain to millions. They made Jews feel helpless, causing them not to feel or react. Most Jews didn’t fear death anymore and just accepted that death was their fate. The Nazis had known what they were going to do from the start, and dehumanization was their main intention in the holocaust.