In the introductory part of this book, Elie is introduced as a teenage boy. During this period, Elie’s teacher, warned the Jewish residents about the future plan by Hitler to destroy the Jews communities (Wiesel 4).
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Initially, everyone thought that the teacher was psychologically disturbed. A few months after his warning, Gestapo forced the Jewish communities into the ghettos. During the following months, more Jews were forcefully turned out of their homes into the concentration camps by the Nazi fundamentalists. During this horrifying process, Elie and his father were separated from the rest of their family.
According to the book, Elie detailed that this was his last time he had ever seen some of his family members. Through this book, Elie argued that life in the concentration camps shaped his destiny (Wiesel 7). This paper seeks to analyze Elie’s experiences in the concentration camps, and focuses on how the holocaust changed his life.
The book illustrates that before the attacks on the Jewish communities, Elie spent his childhood learning Jewish religious traditions. As such, his mother taught his many Judaism teachings. After the attack, Elie’s life changed completely. According to the book, experiences in the concentration camps changed his life as a Jew and as a man (Wiesel 56). The book notes that when the Jews were forced into the concentration camps, Elie and his family remained calm and obeyed every directive from their oppressors.
During their first day in the camp, Jews population increased with each passing hour. With an increase in the population, situations in the camp worsen. They were forced to live on minimal food and water. Further the book provides details on the third day, when the camps were filled with horrifying flames and stinking burnt flesh of those who had been killed by the German soldiers.
During the same day, the author’s mother and his three little sisters disappeared from the camp, and Elie and his father had an emotional trauma due to this. The author says that he continuously feared that his family members could have been killed. After losing his mother and sisters, Elie remained with his father who later died of dysentery. All through these experiences, Elie was emotionally affected.
In the camps, the Jews were physically affected by the poor living conditions. The book reveals that before the horrific experiences, the Jews were healthy. However, a few months after the attack, the Jews became emaciated. These conditions were escalated by the little food and water offered in the camps. Elie asserts that the quality and the amount of the food they gave him in the camps made him weak. Similarly, the author attributes their change in health to hard work conditions they endured in the concentration camps (Wiesel 24).
Before the holocaust, the author remarks that the Jews lived together in harmony and never fought against one another. However, in the concentration camps, enmity grew among the Jewish prisoners. The author attributed the enmity among the Jews to the scarcity of food in the camps. At one incidence, fellow Jewish prisoner fought with Elie’s father over a plate of soup and bread. After the fight, Elie abused his neighbors disregarding them for their behaviors.
More than once, Elie had to bribe their neighbors with bread and soup so that they could leave his father in peace. With respect to these behaviors, the effect concentration camps had on the Jews lives is revealed. In the book, we note that it is unusual for Jewish neighbors to fight one another. However, in the concentration camps, poor living conditions and inadequate food and water led to the rampant fights.
Another major effect the concentration camp had on the author and the Jews was their religion and faith. The author illustrated that before the holocaust, they believed that God was their protector. Through this perception, the Jews believed that God was always ready to punish the Jewish enemies.
Similarly, the book reveals that the Jews believed that everything that happened was attributed to God’s plans. For instance, Elie illustrated that when they heard the rumors of the planned horrific attacks against them, their rabbis consoled them asserting that God would not let anything bad happen to his people (Wiesel 46).
As a result, the Jewish community collectively believed that God was by their side and nothing bad would happen to them. However, during and after the holocaust experience many Jews doubted God. For instance, during the early days in the concentration camp the author believed that God was testing their faith. Some Jews believed that God was punishing them for their historical wrongdoings. Despite these injustices, the book notes that the Jews’ faith in God remained firm.
As days passed by, several Jews were killed and burnt publicly. With these occurrences, the author and some Jews began to doubt their faith in God. It was not until when he saw babies being thrown into the fire by the German soldiers that the author changed his perception about God completely. Since then, he rebelled against God and religion. He was shocked that the God they had faithfully served had allowed their oppressors to undertake such horrifying deeds against His people.
To him, God had remained silent to their prayers. The book notes that at the end of the holocausts, only few individuals still had faith in God. Many believed that God was a cruel being. The book illustrates how the energy once spent on worshiping and praising God was transferred to cursing, challenging, condemning, and denouncing God. At the end of the book, the author questioned whether man was God’s ally or a toy.
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After being released from the concentration camp, Elie’s activities signified the effects the concentration camps had on him. In the book, it is detailed that as a young boy, Elie had never expected that one day he would be a writer. Instead, he thought that he would be a religious leader. However, the sufferings and the experiences in the concentration camps later forced him to be a writer. By being a writer, Elie has managed to detail his first hand experience during the holocaust.
After his release from the concentration camps, we realized that the author had no interests in religious studies anymore. Later, Elie became an activist challenging human oppression and injustices. All these acts have been motivated by his experiences in the concentration camps. It is alleged that the author married a holocaust victim. Through this, we can argue that the common experience the couple shared played a key role in their union. In general, Elie’s experiences in the concentration camp shaped his destiny.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang. 1982. Print.