I just finished the book I was reading for the past few weeks, Night. It was a survivor’s first hand account of the Holocaust. It was a struggle to finish, just because of how sad it was, and the closer I got to the end, the worse it got. In the last few chapters, Elie’s foot becomes infected, making it hard for him to walk. He has a small surgery, and is told to rest it for a couple of weeks. The problem is, that the Russians are invading Germany, and the camp is going to be evacuated. Everyone in the infirmary will be allowed to stay, but they all believe that they will be killed, saying, “Hitler has made it clear that he will annihilate all Jews before the clock strikes twelve.”
So, Elie decides to evacuate with the rest of the camp. He is forced to run for hours straight, in the snow, with almost no food or water. His foot is bleeding the entire time, and the only thing keeping him alive is his father. Finally, they reach a camp, and are about to be loaded into train cars, when another selection happens. They let him live however, his father is about to be killed, when Elie saves him. Then, they are loaded into cattle cars- a hundred men on each one. They are given no food, water or fresh air for days. They live on snow alone. By the end of the journey, only twelve men in their car are alive.
Then, Eli’s father contracts dysteria. Elie and his father have been there for each other the entire time, being the only thing that have kept them alive. But, then Father dies. The rest of the book Elie is alone, and hungry. He lives for his bread ration day after day, until the guards decide to kill all the prisoners. But, as Elie is walking outside the camp to die, “the resistance movement decided to act. Bursts of gunshots. Grenades exploding.” He is finally free.
I believe the takeaway of Night is that bad things happen every single day, and we cannot ignore them. If we do, when we are being persecuted, who will protect us?
My first piece of evidence is, “One day, all the foreigners were expelled from Sighet… Crammed into cattle cars by the Hungarian police, they cried silently. Standing on the Station Platform, we too were crying. The train disappeared over the horizon, all that was left was thick, dirty, smoke. Behind me someone said, sighing, ‘What do you expect? That’s war…” (Wiesel, 6)
In the book, the village sat by, and let their neighbors be taken away, to die. Not one of them had tried to protect their neighbors Then, when they were persecuted, and no one tried to protect them. When we stand by and let others suffer, we cannot expect others to help us.
My second piece of evidence is also from Night, it says, “There followed days and nights of traveling. Occasionally, we would pass through German towns. Usually, very early in the morning. German laborers were going to work. They would stop and look at us without surprise” (Wiesel, 100) The German citizens knew that every day, thousands of people were being killed and becoming victims of a genocide. Yet, they did nothing.