Hierarchy Of Needs In The Holocaust Night By Elie Wiesel

853 WordsJun 6, 20174 Pages
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory that Abraham Maslow observed and reported in a paper published in Psychological Review. In psychology Maslow's theory is described as a 5 tier pyramid with the needs most crucial to human survival on the bottom and the less important needs of love, self-esteem, and self-actualization on the top. Humans most basic needs of physical survival takes precedence over all other human needs. In Elie Wiesel's 1st person account of his experience in concentration camps during the holocaust Night , Wiesel describes both the loss of his family, his faith, and his home, but also how he was denied all basic needs for human survival. The severe mental and physical suffering that the Jewish prisoners experienced at the hands of the Nazis conditioned them to put their human values and beliefs aside so that they could simply survive. In Elie Wiesel's memoire, instincts of self-preservation overwhelm all other human emotion. While at Auschwitz Elie and his father were transferred to new barracks were Elie's father was beaten by a gypsy inmate who was in charge for politely asking were the bathroom was. Elie describes his reaction of standing petrified and thinking "What had happened to me? My father had just been struck, in front of me, and I had not even blinked. I had watched and kept silent. Only yesterday, I would have dug my nails into this criminal's flesh. Had I changed that much? So fast? Remorse began to gnaw at me. All I could think was: I shall never forgive them for this. My father must have guessed my thoughts, because he whispered in my ear: 'It doesn’t hurt.' His cheek still bore the red mark of the hand." (3.117-120)Elie's lack of reaction showcases how the environment of the concentration camp was already conditioning Elie to put his needs of survival ahead of his human identity. Weasels description of the events show how the brutality of the camps have changed Elie's actions and thoughts because Elie knows that interfering in the encounter would mean sacrificing basic survival; love and human emotions are no longer a priority. Maslow's theory explains how the severe and degrading conditions that the prisoners are subjected to have turned the prisoners

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