FC: Night | Alyssa L. Chester
1: Intro | The Holocaust has been described as one of the most tragic events in world history. Millions of European Jews were tortured or killed in the hundreds of concentration camps spread across Europe.
2: Adolf Hitler was the main cause for concentration camps. He disliked Jews with a passion and would do anything to get rid of them. He sent officers of his political group, the Nazis, to European towns to track down Jews and get rid of them.
3: One night in 1939 put the officers’ tactics to a new low. They stole and broke into Jewish-owned stores and synagogues. They beat Jewish men and made their families watch. This night was known as The Night of Broken Glass. Nazi officers would force Jews out of their homes and into crowded trains on their way to the camps. Starvation and Diseases caused millions of deaths.
4: Those who survived were often left with permanent mental damage. The United States was unaware of what was going on in Europe, until after the camps were liberated. Many of the survivors moved to the U.S to avoid those who still supported the Nazi’s ideas. Even though they were away from the situation, the majority still could not adjust to reality. Nightmares and flashbacks attributed to the problems these people faced.
5: In the first chapter of the book, Wiesel talks about a boy named Moishe the Beadle. He was humble and resided in utter poverty. The Jews of Sighet were fond of him. The townspeople did not particularly like the needy, but Moishe was an exception. He stayed out of people’s way and he kept to himself. They met in 1941. In the meantime, Elie was to find someone to guide him in his studies of Kabbalah. His father does not like this; Elie continues to do it anyway. His parents own a store, where his sisters, Hilda and Bea, work. He stays in the house and studies. | Chapter 1
6: Elie continues to talk to Moishe at night in the Temple. One day, foreign Jews were suddenly expelled from Sighet and Moishe was gone. Soon after, Elie went back to normal life. Suddenly, one night when he was going to the Synagogue, he saw Moishe on a bench. Moishe told Elie about all the bad things that had happened to him. Elie didn’t believe him, but it was too late. Moishe the Beadle was a changed person. He was no longer the cheery boy he once was. | Chapter 1
7: In the spring of 1944, word came that the German army would be defeated in a matter of months. A lot of people did not believe this. The elderly started strategizing. Moishe was silent. Then the truth came out. German troops had infiltrated Hungarian region with government approval. People were in horror. In less than three days, German vehicles made their way to Sighet. Then the decrees started coming out. The Wiesel family obeyed them and kept living normal lives. Ghettos also started appearing. While sleeping one night, Elie realized that his dad was awake in a panic. He was trying to move people out of the ghetto. It was to be liquidated. Elie was given the duty to wake up people and to make sure they get their things. It turns out the Jews are going to have to be transported. The next few days were spent traveling to a new ghetto. They settled down once there. Their formed maid, Maria, paid a visit and offered to take them to a nearby village. No one went. By Saturday, it was time for eviction. The Hungarian police forced 80 persons into each train car. No one knew what lied ahead. | Chapter 1
8: The car that Elie and his family are in is very crowded. They take turns sitting down. They were not lucky enough to be near a window. Two days into the travel, the need for water and cool air was unbearable. A Hungarian officer and a lieutenant stepped into their car one day. They told the travelers that “From now on, you are under the authority of the German Army. Anyone who still possesses Gold, Silver, or watches must hand them over now. Anyone found to have kept any of these will be shot on the spot. Secondly, anyone who is ill should report to the Hospital car.” They proceeded to walk around with a basket collecting. They also said that if anyone goes missing from the eighty, they will all be shot. | Chapter II
9: Elie recalls a woman by the name of Mrs. Schachter. She was of middle age and had a young son with her. During the trip, Mrs. Schachter constantly screams that she sees fire. She goes into fits of hallucination. No one else sees the fire that she is talking about. Everybody starts to believe that she’s been driven mad. Her son can’t even control her anymore. An hour or so later it begins again. People started hitting her to be quiet. The next day she was quiet; curled up in a corner. By evening, the screams started again. | Suddenly the heat and stench hit the other passengers. They were pulling into a station. One person read the name as Auschwitz. No one had heard of this place before. They learned this was the final destination.There was a labor camp here. Mrs. Schachter remained in her corner. Dusk fell on the cart and her screams begin again. This time a German guard came to have he moved to the hospital car. The train moves to quickly to a new location and they smell fire again. Guards began to yell that they exit the car. They are being rude. They abruptly realize what they are smelling is human flesh. They find out where they are now is a place named Birkenau. | Chapter II
10: Things were taken away from the passengers. Men and women were separated. This was the point in time where Elie would see his Mother and sisters for the last time. He and his father continue to walk. An inmate nearby tells he and his father to lie about their ages. An officer shows up and starts yelling at the prisoners. None of them knew why they were there. The officer tries to intimidate them by saying they will be taken straight to the crematorium. They continued to walk. They stopped at a crossroads. In the middle was the notorious Dr. Joseph Mengele. They knew him as cruel and unforgiving. He was examining prisoners. Finally, it was Elie’s turn. He told Dr. Mengele that he was eighteen, in good health, and a farmer. He was told to walk to the left. Someone standing next to him tells him that his group is headed for the crematorium. Elie contemplated running into the electrified barbed wire, but he did not. Two steps from the pit, they were told to turn. | Chapter III
11: The officers told them to remove their clothing. The barber was next. Elie’s and his father’s hair was sheared off. At five o’ clock the next morning, the prisoners were taken from the barrack. They were ordered to run. After a few minutes of running, they came to a new barrack. They were given a swift hot shower. The prisoners were then ordered to run some more. Another barrack came into view. The guards gathered prison clothes to throw at the lesser-beings as they ran back. Not far from where they stood, another group of prisoners were at work. They herded the prisoners into another barrack. A Kapo came in to check if anyone had new shoes. The convicts are told that Auschwitz is a concentration camp and that they are to work here. | Chapter III
12: If they don’t work, they will be immediately killed. They were then taken to another barrack with a Gypsy inmate in charge. Elie’s father, Schlomo, suddenly has a colic attack. He asks to be excused. The Gypsy in charge stares at him, then sternly slaps him. Afterwards, Schlomo claims that it doesn’t hurt. They begin to march again. It lasted half an hour. Soon, they see an iron gate with an overhead inscription. “Arbeit Macht Frei” meant Work makes you free. It was the entrance gate to Auschwitz. | Chapter III
13: If they don’t work, they will be immediately killed. They were then taken to another barrack with a Gypsy inmate in charge. Elie’s father, Schlomo, suddenly has a colic attack. He asks to be excused. The Gypsy in charge stares at him, then sternly slaps him. Afterwards, Schlomo claims that it doesn’t hurt. They begin to march again. It lasted half an hour. Soon, they see an iron gate with an overhead inscription. “Arbeit Macht Frei” meant Work makes you free. It was the entrance gate to Auschwitz. The inmates were given a hot shower. Around midnight, they were told to run. After a few minutes of running, they came to a new block. A Polish Officer ensures them that they have passed the hardest part, the selection. He told them to not give up hope. The first meal at Auschwitz was Soup and stale bread. Elie refused to eat it. | Chapter III | If they don’t work, they will be immediately killed. They were then taken to another barrack with a Gypsy inmate in charge. Elie’s father, Schlomo, suddenly has a colic attack. He asks to be excused. The Gypsy in charge stares at him, then sternly slaps him. Afterwards, Schlomo claims that it doesn’t hurt. They begin to march again. It lasted half an hour. Soon, they see an iron gate with an overhead inscription. “Arbeit Macht Frei” meant Work makes you free. It was the entrance gate to Auschwitz. The inmates were given a hot shower. Around midnight, they were told to run. After a few minutes of running, they came to a new block. A Polish Officer ensures them that they have passed the hardest part, the selection. He told them to not give up hope. The first meal at Auschwitz was Soup and stale bread. Elie refused to eat it.
14: Elie started to believe that Auschwitz was, after all, convalescent camp. In the afternoon, the prisoners were lined up. Numbers were tattooed on their arms. These numbers would be their identity from now on. Elie’s was A-7713. From now on, he had no other name. a relative was able to find Schlomo and Elie. They didn’t know who he was at first. The man asked if they had seen his wife. They lied and said she was fie. They remained in Auschwitz for three weeks. At the start of the third week, their Blockalteste was removed. He was judged too humane. The men started to question their belief in God during the nights. A few days later, they were sent to the new camp, Buna. | Chapter III
15: The camp was bare and lifeless. Passing through the showers, the prisoners met the head of the camp. They were given new clothing and settled in two tents. The tent leader was German. Elie was asked if he wanted a good Kommando. He said yes only if they could he and his father could stay together. The boy agreed but only if he could have Elie’s shoes. He promised that he would give him another pair. Elie refused. Later on, the shoes were taken from him anyway for nothing. The next medical checkup went well. The dentist didn’t. Anyone who had a gold crown was listed by their number. Elie had a gold crown. Soon, the group came upon lots of musicians. Elie was able to make friends with some of them; Juliek, a pole with spectacles, Louis, a Holland native and violinist, Hans, from Berlin, and Franek, a Pole and former student of Warsaw. Work was not difficult at first at the camp. Soon, two brothers joined the group; Yossi and Tibi from Czechoslovakia who had lost their parents at Birkenau. They left the music tent. They were now allowed to have a blanket, a washbowl, and a bar of soap. The blockaleste was a German Jew. Another day, after returning from the warehouse, Elie was instructed to go to the dentist after lunch. He found out from the dentist that he was to have his gold crown removed. He pretended to be sick so he could be overlooked until later. The dentist let him go. After a week, he went back. Elie gave the same excuse. The dentist was impressed that he had come back despite his pain, so he was granted further delay. A few days after that visit, the dentist was shut down and hanged. Apparently, he was using the prisoners gold teeth for his own benefit. Elie did not care about the dentist. He was just happy his gold crown was still intact. | Chapter IV
16: In the warehouse, Elie worked alongside a young French woman. They did not speak as they did not understand each other. One day, Idek, the Kapo, was venting anger and Elie crossed his path. Idek started beating him until he was covered in blood. Idek thought he was being defiant, so he continued hurting Elie. Idek abruptly stopped and sent Elie back to work. Elie dragged himself to a corner. Someone started wiping blood from his forehead; the young French girl. She looked him straight in the eyes. She whispered to him to never lose hope, just wait. Another time, the group was loading diesel motors onto freight cars. Idek was on the sidelines and he suddenly exploded. The victim was Schlomo. Idek beat him with an iron bar. With Elie’s mouth agape, one of the foremen noticed his gold crown. He demanded it. Elie made up excuses. The next day, the foreman proceeded to torture Elie by punishing Schlomo while marching. This went on for two weeks. A few days later, a dentist pulled Elie’s crown out with help from a rusty spoon. The foreman was pleased. He treated Elie well again. Unfortunately, this foreman was a Pole, and two weeks after, all the poles were transferred. Elie had lost his gold crown for no reason. | Chapter IV
17: On a Sunday morning before the Poles left, Elie had an unusual experience. His Kommando was not required to work that day. The group had to go to the depot. Once there, Idek instructed them to do something, but don’t do anything, then disappeared. They took turns ambling through the warehouse. When he reached the back of the building, Elie heard noises coming from the tiny contiguous room. Idek was copulating with a young Polish girl on a straw mat. Elie started laughing loudly. Idek jumped up and grabbed him by the throat. He threatened Elie and made him go back to his place. A half hour before the usual stopping time, the Kapo accumulated the entire Kommando for roll call. He made a short speech about interfering in other people’s affairs. Elie knew what was coming. He was instructed to lie on a crate belly first. He was given 25 whips. Elie was then ordered to stand up, but he couldn’t. He was picked up and brought to Idek. Idek told him he would receive five times as many whips if he were to speak of what he saw. Elie understood.Another day, Elie witnessed a man shot for retrieving a few sips from a cauldron of soup. The Buna Factory was being bombed. Elie thought of Schlomo, who was at work. The raid lasted longer than a hour. | Chapter IV
18: A week later, when returning from work Elie recognized a gallows. Soup would be distributed after roll call. Two SS headed toward the solitary confinement cell. The condemned man was retrieved. He was a young boy from Warsaw. He was three year veteran. The boy’s last words were as follows, “Long live liberty! My curse on Germany! My curse! My-,” He was cut off by the executioner. Elie saw other hangings, but one stood out. A giant Dutchman who was loved throughout the camp was the Oberkapo. In his service was young boy. One day the power failed at the central electric plant in Buna. The Gestapo concluded it was sabotage. The trail led to the Dutchman. He was arrested immediately. He was transferred for not giving any names. He was never heard from again. His young assistant remained in solitary confinement. He was tortured, but remained silent. Soon it was evident that the little boy was to be executed. He was condemned with two other men. As the nooses were placed on their necks, the men shouted "Long Live Liberty!" the boy was silent.The chairs were tipped over. As they walked away, they noticed that the boy was still alive. He remained that way for half an hour | Chapter IV
19: On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the whole camp was agitated and they all felt tension. The evening meal was served, but everyone wanted to wait until after prayer. Elie was mad at God. He didn’t understand why this was happening. About ten thousand men had to contribute to in an earnest service. Thousands repeated the benediction while bending over. Elie’s thoughts rebelled against him. The service ended with Kaddish. The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, came near. The inmates questioned whether to fast or not considering it was Yom Kippur year round in the camp. There were those who said they should fast. They need to show God that in even when locked in hell they were capable of singing his praises. Elie didn’t fast. Schlomo had prohibited him from doing so, and he felt no reason to do so any longer. Inside, Elie could feel a great void opening. As a present for the New Year, Elie was transferred to a new Kommando where he works twelve hours a day carrying slabs of stone. That evening, the new head announced no one would leave the block after evening soup. Some people thought this meant selection. | Chapter V
20: Elie thought of his father, and how he had aged so much. Surely he couldn’t pass. Selection was confirmed by the group’s Blockalteste. He told them what they would have to do to pass. They must remember to always run and to never slow down. They were to be examined by the Mr. Mengele once again. They began to run. Elie’s friend, Yossi, told him that they did not write his name down. Once it was over, the Blockalteste revealed that no one was going to be harmed. Once at Block 36, Elie met with his father and was told that Schlomo passed as well. A few days passed and the Blockalteste came with a list of numbers. All called would stay at camp and not go work. Schlomo found out he had to stay. He remained at the camp while Elie marched off to work. | Akiba Drumer had been a victim of selection. He had been complaining of how weak he was lately. Near mid-January, Elie’s foot began to swell from cold. He went to the infirmary. The doctor said that they must operate immediately for risk of amputation. The operation lasted one hour. Elie was not put to sleep. He was told that everything went fine. In two weeks, he would be fully recovered, but only two days after rumors swept through that the Red Army was coming toward Buna. Evacuation was called for. They were to begin their march after nightfall the next night. Elie and Schlomo decided to leave. Elie found out years later that those who stayed in the infirmary were liberated by the Russians immediately. The next night they begin to march in ranks. Block by block. Snow continued to fall. | Chapter V
21: The SS ordered the prisoners to increase their pace. They had orders to shoot anyone who could not endure the pace. A young boy near Elie complained of his stomach hurting. He said he couldn’t go on any longer and dropped to the ground. Schlomo was running next to Elie. He worried about how much longer his father would be able to withstand. They soon came to a small vacant village. Elie and Schlomo approached a shed where a lot of men were occupying. They took turns sleeping. A rabbi nearby had lost his son and was asking if anyone had seen him. They were ordered to march once again. Soon they arrived at Gleiwitz. The Kapos settled the inmates into their new barracks. Elie and Schlomo were thrown to the ground. Suddenly, Elie heard someone yelling for help from beneath him. It was Juliek, the young boy from Warsaw who played violin. He was not dead. Juliek was just short of air, but that wasn’t his number one priority. He was worried about his violin and what the SS were going to do with it. Soon, someone was smothering Elie. He fought his way through the man trying to kill him, and prevailed. | Chapter VI
22: Elie started looking for his father, when he began to hear the sound of a violin. Juliek had started playing a fragment of a Beethoven concerto. Soon night fell, and Elie listened on to Juliek’s song. The next morning, Juliek was dead and next to him laid his trampled violin. They stayed in Gleiwitz for three days. No food or water. During those days, they learned that they would be moved to the midpoint of Germany. Selection took place before the journey. Schlomo was separated from Elie. He ran after his father. Elie was able to keep his father safe. By evening a train had arrived, and one hundred passengers were loaded into each car. | Chapter VI
23: Elie and his father were huddled together on the train ride. Elie thought that there was no reason to live any longer. The train stopped in an empty field to dispose of the dead. More room meant good things for the living. Schlomo was lying on the ground, about to be thrown out. Elie resisted the grave diggers, convincing them that he was alive. Schlomo opened his eyes halfheartedly. Twenty were thrown from Elie’s wagon. There was still no food to speak of. | Chapter VII
24: On the third night of the trip, Elie was awakened by two hands grasping his neck. A friend of Schlomo’s fought off the aggressor. On the last day of the journey, the passengers began to move as not to freeze to death. That night they reached their destination. When they arrived at Buchenwald, twelve of the one hundred people in that car had survived. | Chapter VII
25: Chapter VIII | They were divided into ranks of five at the entrance of the camp. A veteran informed Elie that they would be taken to the showers then to their new blocks. Schlomo was silent. After the showers, he was moaning that he could not go on much longer. Elie would not hear of it. He kept trying to convince his father not to lie down. An alert sounded as the guards guided them to their blocks. When Elie awoke the next morning, he realized he had been separated from his father. He went looking for him. Elie walked for hours without luck. Soon, he came to a block selling coffee. He heard Schlomo’s voice asking for some. Each day that passed, Schlomo became weaker.
26: He was suffering from Dysentery. He ran to a cot where five other sick prisoners lay. He was gasping for breath and talking nonsense. Elie continued to try and find doctors to help with his father’s illness. Inmates around Elie continued to convince him that there was no hope for Schlomo. He continued to mutter for water. One night after roll call, Elie came down from his bunk. He remained by his father for an hour, and then had to go to sleep. Schlomo was still alive when he went to sleep. It was January 28th, 1945. When he woke up the next morning, Elie found a different person. Schlomo's last word was his son's name. | Chapter VIII
27: Elie remained in Buchenwald until the eleventh of April. He was transferred to the children’s block. On April 5th in the late afternoon, the SS guard that was to count the children was late. Two hours later, all Jews were ordered to gather in the Appelplatz. Battles did not last long in the evening. At six, an American tank stood at the gates of Buchenwald. When they were free, all the inmates wanted were food. No one seeked revenge. | Chapter IX
28: Chapter IX | Three days after liberation, Elie became very ill. A type of poisoning was assumed. He spent two weeks in a hospital. One day when he was able to get up, Elie decided to look at himself in the mirror. He had not seen himself since his time in the ghetto. He has said this image resembled a corpse and that the stare has never left him.
29: Vocabulary | Beadle - Parish officer having various subordinate duties, as keeping order during services, waiting on the rector, etc. Shtibl- Yiddish term used by Hasidic Jews for their own type of Synagogue, combining the functions of a prayer, study, and social center. (Little room) Hasidic - The Hasidic movement is unique in its focus on the joyful observance of God’s commandments (mitzvot), heartfelt prayer and boundless love for God and the world He created. Kabbalah - an esoteric theosophy of rabbinical origin based on the Hebrew Scriptures and developed between the 7th and 18th centuries Talmud - The most significant collection of the Jewish oral tradition interpreting the Torah. Rosh Hashanah - Jewish New Year Yom Kippur - (the Day of Atonement) is one of two Jewish High Holy Days. Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah on the 10th of Tishrei, which is a Hebrew month that correlates with September-October on the secular calendar. Nyilas - Hungary's fascist party. Shavuot - Jewish holy day celebrated on the sixth of Sivan to celebrate Moses receiving the Ten Commandments Gestapo - The German secret police under Nazi rule. It ruthlessly suppressed opposition to the Nazis in Germany and occupied Europe and sent Jews and others to concentration camps. From 1936 it was headed by Heinrich Himmler.
30: Vocabulary | Raus - Erhard Raus - German Colonel General Sonder-kommando - consisted of those prisoners selected to remain alive as forced laborers to facilitate the killing process, particularly the disposal of corpses. Kapo - a prisoner who worked inside German Nazi concentration camps during World War II in any of certain lower administrative positions Arbeit macht frei - German for "Work will set you free"; these words appeared in a sign over the main entrance to many concentration camps Blockalteste - Literally, “block elder.” These were inmates in charge of a single concentration camp barrack. Meister - German for "master." Haifa - The chief port in Israel, in the northwestern part of the country, on the Mediterranean coast; pop. 248,000 Wizened - Shriveled or wrinkled with age Aryan - A person of Caucasian race not of Jewish descent Appelplatz - means "the place for roll call" in the German language Lageralteste - Senior camp inmate Oberkapo - German for "overseer."
31: Vocabulary | Pipel - Among Nazi concentration camp detainees, an attractive male child who receives special favor or privileges by maintaining a relationship with another detainee who has been granted some authority over other detainees Sodom - A wicked or depraved place Kaddish - An ancient Jewish prayer sequence regularly recited in the synagogue service, including thanksgiving and praise and concluding with a prayer for universal peace Muselman - German term meaning "Muslim," widely used by concentration camp prisoners to refer to inmates who were on the verge of death from starvation, exhaustion, and despair. A person who had reached the Muselman stage had little, if any, chance for survival and usually died within weeks. Veritable - in a way that truly and accurately describes something Achtung - German for "Attention!" Stubenalteste - room elder Dysentery - Infection of the intestines resulting in severe diarrhea with the presence of blood and mucus in the feces Gros-Rosen - was a German concentration camp, located in Gross-Rosen, Lower Silesia (now Rogonica, Poland). It was located directly on the rail line between Jauer (now Jawor) and Striegau (now Strzegom).
32: Vocabulary | Gleiwitz - is a city in Upper Silesia in southern Poland, near Katowice Emaciated - Abnormally thin or weak, esp. because of illness or a lack of food Meir - is a Jewish masculine given name, and an occasional surname. Shlomo - meaning God's peace, is a common Hebrew male given name. Cauldrons - A large metal pot with a lid and handle, used for cooking over an open fire Lagerkommandant - camp commander
33: Some people doubt events like the Holocaust ever happen. There are still those who believe in the same practices of Hitler around today. Considering the circumstances, though there is not a vast chance of anything of these proportions to happen ever again. There are many risks taken to prevent these types of events. Such open opinions about religions is controlled nowadays. It is highly unlikely that something similar to the Holocaust is to occur. This holds especially in the United States. The U.S is highly outspoken compared to other countries.
34: This would have to be caused by extreme hatred of one particular religion. I am not saying that there is no present tension between religions during present times, but there would not be to such an extreme. There is no possible way that a group of people could get away with murder of so many innocent people. The conditions presented in the Holocaust are inhumane and could result in millions of arrests and prosecutions.
35: People's opinions play a big part in this situation too. Freedom of speech has always been a topic of discussion. Whether or not to boast such opions about the matters has and is a constant question. Most people know how to control their personal thoughts however so we can only hope and pray that an event like the Holocaust will never happen again.