Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)by Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel, François Mauriac Published 16 Jan 2006
|Night (The Night Trilogy, #1).pdf|
|Publisher||Hill & Wang|
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Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesel's testimony to what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.
"Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)" Reviews
"Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately." - Elie Wiesel
There is little that freaks me out more than the Holocaust. And I'm not belittling it at all with the phrase 'freaks me out.' Growing up in the 1970s and 80s, I felt sufficiently desensitized enough by television violence to be able to gauge how often I need to shake the jiffy pop and run to the bathroom before the program/violence resumes.
Elie Wiesel's Night brings me back to my senses, makes me hate the cold hearted bitch I've learned to be. And not by some overtly dramatic rendition of the horrors of life in a concentration camp but more of the LACK of it. The down to the nitty gritty telling of what happened during the year that he was imprisoned. It wasn't going for the kick to the gut reaction, more of a confused, inconceivable retelling of day to day events, and this---this--- is what really makes me shudder and be at a loss for words. Hell, words? Who am I kidding? Try coherent thought.
“I would pause at every sentence, and start over and over again. I would conjure up other verbs, other images, other silent cries. It still was not right. But what exactly was “It”? “It” was something elusive, darkly shrouded for fear of being usurped, profaned. All the dictionary had to offer seemed meager, pale lifeless.”
His description of his last encounter with his mother and little sister:
“An SS came towards us wielding a club. He commanded: “Men to the left! Women to the right!” Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight simple, short words. Yet that was the moment when I left my mother.”
Words. The power they can hold is devastating. Yes, not a new thought, not an original one, yet fucking true nonetheless. Buna. Buchenwald. Mengele. Auschwitz. Words, but ones that incite something within. Creepy crawlies or nausea. Fear.
I have met only one Holocaust survivor, that I'm aware of. And 'met' is too strong a word. I was working in a store during college and was collecting payment from a customer who handed me the money and flashed his tattoo. I paled. My eyes darted from the faded black green numbers that served as this man's identity to his face and knew that I was just another gawker. That in that one moment I had created a history for this man. No.. he WAS history.
Certainly makes you rethink being pissed off that Sbarro's had left the food court.
I think that my kids will most likely never meet a survivor. That books like Night and Anne Frank will have to serve as an education, a reminder that THIS, in fact, DID happen and that it is cruel and moronic and downright irresponsible to believe otherwise.
I could say that I did have some sense of relief that at least I wasn't alive during this. That I didn't sit back and have some vague understanding of this going on. But, that's not really the case, right? We have Rwanda and Darfur and god knows what other insane situations happening out there---and we're outraged over the price of an iPhone.
“For in the end, it is all about memory, its sources and its magnitude, and, of course, its consequences.”
So, Elie Wiesel's account, at 112 pages, serves as a powerful, undeniable, testament. As simply stated as that.
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 tuned my dreams to ashes.
Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.
And in the Preface to the New Translation, he says: “And yet still I wonder: Have I used the right words?'
For me, yes. Most definitely, yes.
Upon completion of this book, my mind is as numb as if I had experienced this suffering myself. So much pain and suffering are thrown at you from the pages that one cannot comprehend it all in the right perspective. One can only move forward as the victims in this book did. Step by step, page by page. Initially, numbness is the only way to deal with such anguish.
Otherwise one becomes quickly overwhelmed by the images that evoke questions that cannot be answered. And yet, I read this book from the comfort of a warm home and a full stomach. Imagine the impact if it were otherwise. Imagine being forced from your home to live in barracks, living off soup and bread, forced to go outside in the winter without a jacket, and perform manual labor from dawn to dusk with the smell of a crematorium in your backyard.
How many of us could endure this for just one day, let alone, for years? What would this do to us physically and more important, what would this do to us mentally? Yet, we witness in this book the miracle of the prisoner's survival. The strength and raw endurance of the human spirit. We must be reminded of this this glorious strength, but also reminded that it was the weakness of the human spirit that inflicted these crimes on others.
Humanity has the capability of extreme strength, but also of extreme weakness (which often hides under the guise of self-righteousness and need for power over others). This book is necessary in order to remind us of this. These things must not be forgotten. Read this book even if you think you have read enough of the Holocaust and of pain and suffering. Every book that I have read about the Holocaust offers something new including this one. Read it as a memorial and a tribute. Read it as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a free society and how we must preserve this freedom at all costs. There are those who would like to take it away. Fascism is alive and well.
I started reading Holocaust novels after reading Edelweiss Pirates ‘Operation Einstein'. (Edelweiss Pirates #1) [bookcover:(Edelweiss Pirates #1) ‘Operation Einstein' they are must reads in this genre are of course Number the Stars Number the stars.
I enjoyed that authors other works. That novel was 'The Book' that turned me onto YA WW2 novels. They allow us to reflect on our own lives, learn history and become better people in general.
"I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man. Without love or mercy."
These words and this book just tore at my heart. I have seen Night, have heard of Night for many years now. I waited to read it, unsure what I could possibly gain from reading another account of the evil existing among our fellow human beings – I will become enraged and depressed. I can’t change history. I will be forced to examine my own faith and I don’t want to do that. But then I discovered that my son was assigned this book as part of his summer reading for a high school English class. What do I want him to learn from this book, from this dark piece of our not too distant past? Should he pass it by so that he doesn’t have to experience the horrifying details, feel the terrible injustice in this world? No. I do not want him to be a passive bystander. I want him to understand that narrow-mindedness, hatred and bigotry exist despite his fortunate and protected upbringing. Other human beings are right now suffering unimaginable sorrow, are being cruelly maltreated. History does repeat itself, perhaps with varying backgrounds, different groups of individuals. We can’t let this happen. My son needs to read this book. His children need to read this book someday. I need to read this book. I did. I read this book and I cried. I was angry. I was disgusted with humanity. I understood Elie’s words above, why he felt such despair. Everyone should read this book at least once. This is a slim book with a tremendous message.
"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere."
This book has garnered so many five-star reviews and deals with such important subject matter that it almost feels like an act of heresy to give it a mere four stars. Yet that is exactly what I'm going to do, for while Night is a chilling account of the Holocaust and the dehumanisation and brutalisation of the human spirit under extreme circumstances, the fact remains that I've read better ones. Better written ones, and more insightful ones, too.
Night is Elie Wiesel's somewhat fictionalised account of the year he spent at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. It's a chilling story about his experiences in and between concentration camps, his gradual loss of faith (he was a very observant Jew who obviously wondered where God was while his people were being exterminated), and his feelings of guilt when he realised that his struggle for survival was making him insensitive towards his dying father. It's gruesome, chilling material, and I felt very quiet after having read it. Yet I also felt vaguely unsatisfied with the book. I wanted more detail. I wanted fleshed-out writing rather than a succession of meaningful one-line paragraphs. I wanted less heavy-handed symbolism (the book very much centres on troubled father-and-son relationships, to echo the one central Father-and-Son one) and more actual feeling. I wanted a writer (and a translator) who knew better than to call an SS officer 'an SS'. And most of all, I wanted a less abrupt ending. I wanted to ask Wiesel what happened in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of Buchenwald. I wanted to ask him what happened to his leg, on which he marched for several gruesome days just days after having undergone an operation, and how he picked up the pieces afterwards, and why on earth his two eldest sisters, who died in Auschwitz as well as his mother and younger sister, never warranted more than a single mention. The latter was an example of seriously shoddy writing, I thought.
Perhaps my questions were answered in the original version of Night, which never got published. In his introduction to the new English translation of Night, Wiesel mentions that the book as it is today is a severely abridged version of a much longer Yiddish original called And the World Remained Silent. I think I can see why the original wasn't published (quite apart from the fact that the world wasn't ready yet for concentration camp literature, the few quotes provided in the introduction make for heavy reading). The abridged version definitely seems more readable than the full-length one, and does an admirable job getting the facts across. Even so, I think the publishers might have gone a step too far in abridging the book to the extent that they did. No doubt the very brevity of Night is one of the reasons why it's so popular today, but personally, I would have liked to see a middle road between the original (detailed) manuscript and the incredibly spare barebones version sold now. Don't get me wrong, the abridged version is effective, but as far as I'm concerned, it's the Holocaust for people with short attention spans. I prefer Primo Levi and Ella Lingens-Reiner's more complete accounts of life in the camps myself, not to mention several Dutch books which sadly never got translated into other languages.
But still. Night is an important book, and one that deserves to be widely read. In fact, one that should be widely read, by people of all ages and nationalities, to prevent nightmare like this ever happening again.
Όπως αναφέρεται στο επίμετρο αυτού του συγκλονιστικού βιβλίου όταν πρωτοεκδόθηκε το 1956 στην Αργεντινή (στη μητρική γλώσσα του συγγραφέα) είχε τίτλο:
«Και ο κόσμος σιωπούσε.....»
Θεωρώ πως δεν θα μπορούσε να υπάρξει πιο αντιπροσωπευτικός τίτλος για την ιστορία του βιβλίου αλλά και για την παγκόσμια ανθρώπινη ιστορία.
«Η νύχτα» του Ελί Βιζέλ είναι ένα αφηγηματικό ντοκουμέντο για το Ολοκαύτωμα.
Όταν άνοιξαν οι πύλες της κολάσεως για εκατομμύρια Εβραίους στα στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης-εξόντωσης και πέρασε πάνω απο ανθρώπινες σάρκες και ψυχές το αιματοβαμμένο τρένο της ιστορίας κατά τον
Ο ακατανόητος ναζισμός έχει πρωταρχικό σκοπό των αφανισμό των Εβραίων απο πρόσωπου γης.
Η ιστορία του βιβλίου αναφέρεται στους Εβραίους της Ουγγαρίας - τελευταία μεγάλη κοινότητα της Ευρώπης- και τον εκτοπισμό της στο Άουσβιτς.
Οι ναζί σπαταλούν χρόνο και δυνάμεις για να λυτρώσουν τον κόσμο απο το Κακό. Ένας λυτρωτικός αντισημιτισμός τη στιγμή που ο πόλεμος έχει ουσιαστικά κριθεί εις βάρος τους.
Και μετά τη Νύχτα.... ή και πριν απο αυτή ξημέρωσε μια κατάμαυρη ημέρα για την ανθρωπότητα.
Άπειρες νύχτες του παρελθόντος και αμέτρητα ξημερώματα του παρόντος και του μέλλοντος θα επικρατούν για πάντα στον πλανήτη των ανθρώπων.
Ο Βιζέλ διηγείται την δύναμη του κακού και τα βάσανα των θυμάτων που έπληξαν για πάντα την ανθρώπινη συνείδηση.
Διατείνεται και πολύ σωστά πράττει πως έγραψε το βιβλιο τούτο ως ανάμνηση της μακάβριας και τρομακτικής τρέλας που εισέβαλε τότε στην ιστορία και τις ψυχές για να αποτρέψει την επανάληψη της. Για να γιατρευτεί ίσως η ανθρωπότητα απο την εθισμένη έλξη της προς τη βία.
ήταν απλώς μια στάση του Κακού που επικρατεί αιώνια για να κοιτάξει μέσα στους ομαδικούς τάφους και να ευφρανθεί περισσότερο βλέποντας πως οι μελλοθάνατοι έσκαβαν με τα χέρια τους, οι ίδιοι, τους δικούς τους λάκκους.
Αυτοί, οι δυο φορές σκοτωμένοι απο τους πρεσβευτές του Κακού, τους υποκριτές, τους αδυσώπητους στυλοβάτες του κόσμου που χειραγωγούν την κοινωνία και καταφέρνουν πάντα να καθαγιάζονται απο τη λαϊκή ευαισθησία.
Όλοι οι παλιάνθρωποι του πλανήτη ενωμένοι σε έναν στρατό.
Τρομερά πλούσιο δειγματολόγιο θα βλέπαμε.
Απο μικρά παιδάκια γαλουχημένα με μίσος, κλέφτες δημοτικούς υπαλλήλους, ψεύτες υπουργούς και κυβερνήτες,πουλημένους γιατρούς και δικηγόρους, διεφθαρμένες κυρίες φιλανθρωπικών ιδρυμάτων, νεαρές κοπέλες προστατευμένες απο ηλίθιους πλούσιους, απατεώνες διευθυντές επιχειρήσεων, παρασημοφορημένους πρεσβευτές, αποικιακούς υπαλλήλους, εν ολίγοις, επίσης, όλες οι οργανωμένες δυνάμεις του κράτους, η απάτη του Κλήρου, ο Στρατός, η Λαϊκή Παιδεία.
Το σύμπαν της στρατιάς των θριαμβευτών της επιστήμης και της αμοιβαίας γνώσης, που στην πορεία του χρόνου και στη θεωρία της εξέλιξης οι ευθύνες που τους βαραίνουν κατά της δικαιοσύνης και της ανθρωπιάς πρέπει να μετρηθούν με ζυγαριά παλιανθρωπιάς, και να χαριστεί στον καθέναν το ακριβές βάρος της βρόμας του προς βρώση. (Περιττώματα).
Ποια η διαφορά των ναζί απο τους αναλφάβητους σε κάποια πολιτεία της Αμερικής που προσεύχονται στο θεό την ίδια ώρα που λιώνουν στην εκμετάλλευση νέγρους στη Γουατεμάλα.
Ποια η διαφορά της δουλοκτητικής ηθικής κοινωνίας απο τους μισθωτούς σκλάβους.
Ποια η διαφορά ενός αρχηγού του Μπούχενβαλντ απο έναν αρχηγό γαλέρας.
Είναι καλύτερος ο θάνατος με βόμβες παρά με βέλη και τόξα;
Το βασανιστήριο του ηλεκτροσόκ αποδίδει καλύτερα απο τα βασανιστήρια με ποντίκια των Κινέζων;
Οι δολοφονίες της ιεράς εξέτασης ήταν πιο φρικτές απο τις «αντιτρομοκρατικές» δολοφονίες με σύγχρονα όπλα;
Αν η ανθρωπότητα ήθελε να επικρατήσει το Καλό δεν θα το εξόρκιζε. Δεν θα το στιγμάτιζε με θρησκευτικούς κανόνες και τιμωρίες.
Πρέπει να υπαγορευτεί απο πανάρχαιους θεικούς κανόνες το Καλό;
Και στην τελική το Κακό μας συστήνει και μας παραπέμπει στο Καλό, αφού αν δεν κάνουμε αυτό ή εκείνο, απειλούμαστε με αιώνια κόλαση.
Το γενικό νόημα του κόσμου με βάση την πνευματική και υλική πρόοδο παραμένει αιώνες αναλλοίωτο.
Εν κατακλείδι, οποιαδήποτε απόπειρα αντίδρασης ή επαγρύπνησης πνεύματος και προσωπικότητας ενάντια στις δυνάμεις που πάντα εξουσίαζαν τον κόσμο εκμηδενίζεται και καταστρέφεται.
Λαοί ολόκληροι αποδεκατίστηκαν, οι θρησκείες εκκαθάρισαν τον κόσμο.
Λαμπρά μυαλά και μεγαλοφυΐες βασανίστηκαν, κάηκαν, κρεμάστηκαν, γδάρθηκαν στο όνομα των αντιδράσεων που μπορούν να λυτρώσουν.
Βαθύ βελούδινο σκοτάδι.
Υπήρχε, υπάρχει και θα υπάρχει.
Κι ο κόσμος σιωπούσε....και θα σιωπά.