Night Book Report Essay

This essay has a total of 1242 words and 6 pages.

Night Book Report

Eliezer is a 12-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy living with his family in the Transylvanian
town of Sighet. Eliezer is the only son of the family, and his parents are shopkeepers.
His father is a highly respected within Sighet's Jewish community. Eliezer also 2 older
sisters, Hilda and Bea, and a younger sister named Tzipora. Eliezer is taught Jewish
mysticism under Moshe, a local pauper.


In 1944 German armies occupy Hungary, and soon move into Sighet. Jewish community leaders
are arrested, valuables are confiscated, and all of the Jews are then forced to wear
yellow stars. The Jews were all gathered into small ghettos, and soon after, the Germans
began to deport them to Auschwitz. Eliezer's family is among the last to leave Sighet and
it is then Eliezer began his horrible experience as being apart of the Holocaust.


During this long and painful experience, Eliezer questioned his faith more than once.
Before he and his family were forced onto the camps, Eliezer's studies in Jewish mysticism
taught him that if God is good and He is everywhere, than the whole world must therefore
be good. But his faith in the world is broken by the cruelty and evil he witnesses during
the Holocaust. He wonders how God would even let such an evil take place, he feels that if
the world is so sick and cruel, than God must also be sick and cruel or not exist at all.


Moshe is asked why he prays and replies, "I pray to the God within me that He will give me
strength to ask him the right questions." Meaning, questioning is a fundamental to the
idea of faith in God. The horrible experiences of the Holocaust force Eliezer to ask
questions about the nature of good and evil and about weather God exits or not. But the
fact he asks these questions reflects his commitment to God.


Eliezer not only suffers from experiences Nazi persecution, but also cruelty he sees
fellow prisoners inflict on each other, and becomes aware of the cruelty of which he
himself is capable. Everything he experiences shows how horribly people can treat one
another, which troubles him.


The Nazis are the first insensible cruelty Eliezer experiences. Though, when they first
appear, they do not seem terrible in any way shape or form. Eliezer recounts, "Our first
impressions of the Germans were most reassuring. . . Their attitude toward their hosts was
distant, but polite." It is hard to understand how human beings could slaughter millions
of innocent victims.


Another bizarre fact Eliezer discovers is how cruelty breeds cruelty. Instead of
comforting each other in a time of difficulty, the prisoners respond to their
circumstances by turning against one another. A Kapo says to Eliezer, "Here, every man has
to fight for himself and not think of anyone else. . . Here, there are no fathers, no
brothers, no friends. Everyone lives and dies for himself alone." It is very surprising
that a remark like this is even made since Kapos were themselves prisoners placed in
charge of other prisoners. They enjoyed a relatively better (though still horrendous)
quality of life in the camp, but they aided the Nazi mission and often behaved cruelly
toward prisoners. Eliezer refers to them as "functions of death." The Kapos' position
symbolizes the way the Holocaust's cruelty bred cruelty in its victims, turning people
against each other, as self-preservation became the highest virtue.


Elizer is disgusted with the horrific selfishness he sees around him. On 3 occasions, he
mentions sons horribly mistreating fathers: in his brief discussion of the pipel who
abused his father; his terrible conclusion about the motives of Rabbi Eliahou's son; and
his narration of the fight for food that he witnesses on the train to Buchenwald, in which
a son beats his father to death. All of these moments of cruelty are provoked by the
conditions the prisoners are forced to endure. In order to save themselves, these sons
sacrifice their fathers.


Eliezer states, "Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all
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