Dehumanization In Night By Elie Wiesel

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In his memoir Night, Elie Wiesel depicts the steady escalation of dehumanization to which the Nazis subjected the Jews during the Holocaust and how it helped the Nazis crush the Jews’ spirits and justify their persecution and eventual genocide. Before the arrival of German soldiers, Wiesel and the other Jews of Sighet live in relative harmony with their Christian neighbors. But once the Nazis arrive, they steadily remove the Jews’ human rights until their fellow citizens no longer view them as human anymore. Thus, there is little action taken by the non-Jewish residents of Sighet when the persecutions and deportations begin. Additionally, the gradual pace of the dehumanization managed to convince the Jews that nothing significant was happening and that this was just a temporary phase that would soon pass. This could not be further from the truth. Once the Nazis finally issue the order to deport the Jews of Sighet, Wiesel notices that his neighbors’ spirits have been completely crushed: “There they went, defeated, their bundles, their lives in tow, having left behind their homes, their childhood. They passed me by, like beaten dogs, with never a glance in my direction. They must have envied me” (Wiesel 17). Wiesel describes his fellow Jews as downtrodden and defeated since they are now completely subject to the Nazi officers. The Nazis have stripped their rights, driven them from their homes, and treated them like animals. Being called and treated like animals, specifically
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