by Elie Wiesel
Presented by: Sasha Lidman
• Elie Wiesel- a biography……………3
• Chapter 1 summary…………………11
• Chapter 2 summary…………………12
• Chapter 3 summary…………………13
• Chapter 4 summary…………………14
• Chapter 5 summary…………………16
• Chapter 6 summary…………………18
• Chapter 7 summary…………………20
• My reflection of the book…….22
• Bibliography……………………………24
Elie Wiesel- a biography
Elie Wiesel was born in the
small town of Sighet in
Transylvania, where
people of different
languages and religions
have lived side by side for
centuries, sometimes
peacefully, sometimes in
bitter conflict. The
region has long been
claimed by both Hungary
and Romania and, in the
20th century, has
changed hands
repeatedly, a hostage to
the fortunes of war.
• Elie Wiesel grew up in the close-knit Jewish
community of Sighet. While the family spoke Yiddish
at home, they read newspapers and conducted their
grocery business in German, Hungarian or Romanian
as the occasion demanded. Ukrainian, Russian and
other languages were also widely spoken in the
town. Elie began religious studies in classical
Hebrew almost as soon as he could speak. The
young boy's life centered entirely on his religious
studies. He loved the mystical tradition and folk
tales of the Hassidic sect of Judaism, to which his
mother's family belonged. His father, though
religious, encouraged the boy to study the modern
Hebrew language and concentrate on his secular
studies. The first years of World War II left Sighet
relatively untouched. Although the village
changed hands from Romania to Hungary, the
Wiesel family believed they were safe from the
persecutions suffered by Jews in Germany and
Poland .
• The secure world of Wiesel's childhood
ended abruptly with the arrival of the
Nazis in Sighet in 1944. The Jewish
inhabitants of the village were deported
en masse to concentration camps in
Poland. The 15 year-old boy was separated
from his mother and sister immediately on
arrival in Auschwitz. He never saw them
again. He managed to remain with his father
for the next year as they were worked
almost to death, starved, beaten, and
shuttled from camp to camp on foot, or in
open cattle cars, in driving snow, without
food, proper shoes, or clothing. In the
last months of the war, Wiesel's father
succumbed to dysentery, starvation,
exhaustion and exposure.
• After the war, the
teenaged Wiesel found
asylum in France,
where he learned for
the first time that his
two older sisters had
survived the war.
Wiesel mastered the
French language and
studied philosophy at
the Sorbonne, while
supporting himself as a
choir master and
teacher of Hebrew. He
became a professional
journalist, writing for
newspapers in both
France and Israel.
For ten years, he observed a self-imposed •
vow of silence and wrote nothing about
his wartime experience. In 1955, at the
urging of the Catholic writer Francois
Mauriac, he set down his memories in
Yiddish, in a 900-page work entitled Un die
welt hot geshvign (And the world kept
silent). The book was first published in
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Wiesel
compressed the work into a 127-page
French adaptation, La Nuit (Night), but
several years passed before he was able to
find a publisher for the French or English
versions of the work. Even after Wiesel
found publishers for the French and
English translations, the book sold few
• In 1956, while he was in New York
covering the United Nations, Elie
Wiesel was struck by a taxi cab. His
injuries confined him to a wheelchair
for almost a year. Unable to renew
the French document which had
allowed him to travel as a
"stateless" person, Wiesel applied
successfully for American
citizenship. Once he recovered, he
remained in New York and became a
feature writer for the Yiddishlanguage newspaper, the Jewish
Daily Forward (Der forverts ).
Wiesel continued to write books in French, including
the semi-autobiographical novels L'Aube (Dawn), and
Le Jour (translated as The Accident ). In his novel
La Ville de la Chance (translated as The Town
Beyond the Wall ), Wiesel imagined a return to his
home town, a journey he did not undertake in life
until after the book was published .
As these and other books began to win him an
international reputation, Wiesel took an increasing
interest in the plight of persecuted Jews in the
Soviet Union. He first traveled to the USSR in 1965
and reported on his travels in The Jews of Silence.
His 1968 account of the Six Day War between Israel
and its Arab neighbors appeared in English as A
Beggar In Jerusalem . In time, Wiesel was able to use
his fame to plead for justice for oppressed peoples
in the Soviet Union, South Africa, Vietnam, Biafra
and Bangladesh
He has written plays including Zalmen, or the •
Madness of God and The Trial of God (Le Proces de
Shamgorod ). His other novels include The Gates of
the Forest, The Oath, The Testament, and The Fifth
Son. His essays and short stories are collected in
the volumes Legends of Our Time, One Generation
After, and A Jew Today. Although Wiesel still
writes his books in French, his wife Marion now
.collaborates with him on their English translation
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Elie •
Wiesel Chairman of the United States Holocaust
Memorial Council. In 1985 he was awarded the
Congressional Medal of Freedom and, in 1986, the
Nobel Prize for Peace. The English translation of
his memoirs appeared in 1995 as All Rivers Run to
the Sea. Since 1976, he has been Andrew Mellon
Professor of Humanities at Boston University. He
makes his home in New York City with his wife and
.their son, Elisha
Chapter 1(pages 1-20)
This part of the book begins with the description of a man
called Moche the Beadle. This man was a mentor to Elie,
teaching him the Cabbala against his fathers will. One
day, Moche was deported , along with the other Sighet
Jews. They were all soon forgotten, until Moche
returned and told the townspeople what happened to the
others- how they were forced to dig their own graves
and then mercilessly killed. Even though Moche only
came back to warn the Jews, they did not believe him ,
thinking he was trying to get money or sympathy. The Jews
remained optimistic even when the German soldiers
entered their territory and the first decrees against the
Jews were formed. When the Germans set up the Ghettos
in Sighet, the Jews became optimistic,hoping they would
remain in the Ghetto until the end of the war. Soon,
however , they received news of a deportation soon to
come. Elie’s family had a week to prepare for the
departure, and they prepared for a long journey not
knowing where they would be taken. When it was finally
time to leave, the Jews were literally stuffed into small
cattle wagons.
Chapter 2 (pages 21-26)
• In this part the Jews are taken somewhere in a cattle
wagon. The conditions are awful, there is no food and
the heat is unbearable.Here began the slow
transformation of the Jews from human beings into
animal-like creatures- Elie complains that the youngsters
had sex openly in the train, inconsiderate of the others.
Also, when an old woman named Madame Schachter went
out of her mind and started screaming of a fire and a
furnace she sees, the men beat her up repeatedly to shut
her up. Later they even tied her up and gagged her, even
though she was obviously unwell after the loss of most
of her family. In the end of the chapter the Jews actually
saw the flames she saw earlier. The Jews had arrived in
Birkenau- the reception center for Auschwitz.
Chapter 3 (pages 26-44)
This section of the book was quite disturbing. The first shock was when
Elie was separated from his mother and sisters. Then, the most horrible
of all- he saw the burning pit of babies and young children. Thinking he
was to be burned Elie thought of suicide on the electric wire to save
himself the agony of burning.It’s then when the first question in god rose
in him. Interesting though, that while questioning God’s mercy and
refusing to bless him, he had never questioned his existence.
Here, the Nazis begin the work of robbing the Jews of their individuality
and humiliating them- all have their hair cut and are given ill-fitting
prisoners’ clothes. The guards threated them as animals. The men that
were singled out for being “stronger” were made into the “SonderKommandos.” ,made to burn their fellow prisoners, their own brothers!
To me this is the most horrible torture imaginable.
At the camp the next day, the sign on it said, “Work is liberty.” “Liberty”? In
Auschwitz? Yet, it was, in a way, logical., as long as you could work, you
were free from death. The head of Elie’s block met the prisoners with
kind, human words and they regained hope. It was at this camp that the man
Stein approached Elie and his father. He was a distant relative that Elie’s
father did not remember, but Elie had recognized him. Stein wanted to
know if they had heard anything about his family, so Elie lied and told him
that he had heard that they were alive and well. Elie was wise enough to
realize that this white lie would bring Keep Stein alive. Later Stein
received some real news of his family. Elie had never seen him again.
In the end of the chapter the remaining Jews marched to buna,
Chapter 4 (pages 45-62)
In this chapter Elie and the other Jews adapted in Buna. They were
threated by the Kapos as cattle or merchandise. Elie got in a
pretty good unit, with friendly comrades, a sympathetic foreman
who even placed him with his father and an easy warehouse job.
Sometimes the Kapo would have a rage outburst and beat
whoever got in his way. Once, Elie did, and Idek beat him
severely.Then,a young girl that worked there as French, helped
him and even comforted him in German- even though she was
risking herself by that . Another time, the victim was Elie’s
father- and Elie wasn’t mad at the Kapo but at his father- for not
knowing how to escape the outburst! This is what camp life has
made of him.
Later on, the foreman had noticed Elies gold tooth. The
sympathetic, intelligent youth was no more- the greed had turned
him heartless and he tormented Elie’s father. Eventually, Elie
had to give in.
One Sunday, the camp was bombed by American planes.
This gave the Jews a new hope, even though each
bomb could kill hundreds of them! But they didn’t
fear death anymore.
During the alert, one of the prisoners stole some
A week later, he was executed for the crime.
He died with a curse upon Germany on his lips and all
the prisoners were made to look at him.
This wasn’t the last execution Elie had to witness. He
tells of one that had shaken him more than the
others: the execution of a young child who was
loved by all in the camp.The child worked under an
oberkapo found guilty in sabotage. He was put to
torture beforehand but would not speak.
When the child was hung Elie felt as if god had died.
Chapter 5 (pages 63-80)
The summer was coming to an end, and the Jews celebrated
Rosh Hashanah. Elie’s mind revolted against the prairsHe had been through so much until now that his faith was
gone. He stirred against praising the god that let all this
hell happen to those who pray before him and accused
god for leaving them. In Yom Kippur Elie did not fast, as if
protesting against God.
After Yom Kippur came two selections. Elie , among with his
father and everyone else, panicked. His father even left
him an inheritage- a knife and a spoon, preparing to die.
Luckily, the father managed to escape the selection. But
Akiba Drummer didn’t. In all the previous chapters he was
the one never losing hope… But lately he had lost his
faith in God. Elie explained his death by this.
• When the winter came, the conditions in the camp went
even worse, and in January Elie got a frostbite on his
right foot. He had it examined and the doctor insisted on
an operation. In the hospital Elie saw near-human
conditions again- he had forgotten them by then! His
neighbor advised him to get out of the hospital as soon as
possible, but Elie didn’t know whether even to trust him
or not…
• Two days after Elie had an operation a rumor of the Red
Army approaching was spread. Soon’ the Jews were told
to prepare for evacuation. Elie decided to go with the
rest of the Jews,even though his foot was bleeding and
he couldn’t walk.. Ironically, the red army did come, and
the invalids left in camp were released 2 days after the
Chapter 6 (pages 81-92)
The Jews marched, followed by the SS who soon made them
run and shot anyone who couldn’t keep up. Elie was
completely exausted, hardly dragging himself. The race was
so hard the idea of a quick death started to fascinate him,
and the only thing that stopped him from giving up was his
father’s presence- Elie had to continue suporting him.
When the Jews were given the order to rest, Elie’s father
didn’t let him sleep- those who did, froze to death. They
went into a shed and slept in there, taking turns to watch
one another.
One of the most unsettling parts of the book to me is the
story of rabbi Eliahou and his son, who left him behind. The
most horrible part of the nazi abuse was the psychological
effect. The Jews turned into mere animals. In the race for
survival bonds suck as the one a father and a son share,
were erased.
Elie prayed to god for the strength never to do such a deed.
Finally, the Jews reached Gleiwitz. There, Elie met an
old friend – Juliek, the violinist. He had brought his
violin with him.Falling asleep among the corpses
Elie heard him play. Juliek played as he would never
play again’ putting his soul into the strings. When
Elie woke up Juliek was already dead, his violin
trampled.Elie was kept in the camp for 3 days
without food or drink. Then there was a selection.
Elie’s father was chosen to die but Elie ran after him
and’ causing a confusion, brought him back. Later,
the Jews were given bread. For water, each ate a
mouthful of snow from his neighbor’s back. The SS
offecers laughed at this.
Then, the train arrived. The wagons had no roofs and
it was still snowing. The Jews were loaded in and the
conoy set out.
Chapter 7 (pages 93-108)
When he was on the train, Elie recalls a stop where a workman
threw some pieces of bread on to the train. The prisoners began
to tear each other apart for a piecehe saw a man assault his own
father for some bread. However, that man was killed right after
by another man anyway... The Jews were no longer humans, they
ceased to be men long ago. Unable to prove their humanity they
acted as mere animals. Elie tells of an event that happened years
later where a woman was throwing some money to some poor
native children in Aden that reminded him of his situation. The
children were fighting mercilessly over the coins, and when Elie
asked her to stop, she replied, “I like to give charity....”.
Obviously, it was only done for the entertainment, and so it is in
the story. The workmen too didn’t think of the Jews as of human
In Buchenwald, Elie’s father had fallen ill , and the doctors didn’t
help.His neighbors abused him and took away his food. He kept
begging for water and eventually passed away. Elie had no tears
to weep for him, and to his dismay, he even felt a bit liberated
from the heavy burden…
on April fifth, the SS said that they were going to start
evacuating Buchenwald one day at a time, and stop the
rations of bread and soup.The evacuation began.
Finally, on April tenth, there was an alarm, and a revolt the
next day. The prisoners were rescued by the Americans that
Evening. Their first act as free men was to eat. That was the
only desire still alive in them .None thought of their
families or of revenge. The author ends the book with the
Following lines:
“From the depth of the mirror a corpse gazed back at me.”
The look in his eyes as they stared into mine, has never left
My Reflection of the
My experience of reading this book has two aspects. On one
hand, it was an amazing book. The author has a very
special writing style that helped me imagine all the events
vividly. On the other hand that’s what made it
unbelievably painful to read. The more I read, the more I
realized- If I would be there I would never reach the end
of the war.
The Holocaust is pretty much my family’s history, al my
parents survived the war. My mind cannot comprehend all
this. It is very stirring that all that happened to the Jews
only because of their religion! I cant help agreeing with
Elie Wiesel – Where was the Justice?!
I cant say I’ve learned anything new about the Holocaust
from the book, since I’ve been reading about it a lot
earlier. Still, the book was so vivid it made me almost
experience the Holocaust, and of course, understand it
I’m very gald I got to share opinions with a foreign
student, since it was very interesting for me to see
how an outsider’s point of view on those events. As I
see, they stirred my partner just the same.
I believe my English has improved from reading the
book- I enriched my vocabulary a lot and learned
new expressions.
In the end I feel that I learned something from this
project and I’m glad we went through with it.
Bibliography •
The book “Night” •

Night by Elie Wiesel