Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Report: Night

Elie Wiesel won the 1986 nobel Peace Prize for his memoir Night. Night is a record of Wiesel's experience in a series of Nazi death camps after the Nazis deported his family from Hungary and sent them to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister were killed, his two older sisters survived. Elie and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before the camp was liberated in April 1945.

This book is terrifying and shocking in the manner that all holocaust accounts are terrifying and shocking. But Night is different in its honesty. Wiesel, raised as a devout and orthodox Jew, has his faith tested in ways we cannot even imagine:

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."

Wiesel, as you know, is an author and professor. He became a U.S. citizen in the fifties and dedicated his life to keeping the Holocaust from becoming a forgotten historical event. He speaks and writes on the moral responsibility of all people to fight hatred, racism and genocide.

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

As a sidebar...The Elie Wiesel Foundation posted this on its website in December:
"We are deeply saddened and distressed that we, along with many others, have been the victims of what may be one of the largest investment frauds in history. We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had $15.2 million under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities. This represented substantially all of the Foundation's assets."

I consider this one of the most important books I've ever read. 5 stars.

1 comment:

Laura Feltes said...

WOW - this is one I shall add to my list to read! Sounds like a book that SHOULD be read!