Surviving Hitler: a Comparison of Night and the Pianist in the Portrayal of the Holocaust

1321 Words Apr 26th, 2006 6 Pages
The Holocaust is the name applied to the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews of Europe and North Africa along with other groups during World War II by Nazi Germany and collaborators. "Early elements of the Holocaust include the Kristallnacht pogrom of the 8th and 9th November 1938 and the T-4 Euthanasia Program", progressing to the later use of killing squads and extermination camps in a massive and centrally organized effort to exterminate every possible member of the populations targeted by the Nazis. The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, so much so …show more content…
Eliezer's teacher, Moshe the Beadle, somehow escapes the Nazis and returns to Sighet to convey to the town an unheeded warning. Perhaps the most bizarre coincidence of all is Eliezer's survival. He is fortunate enough, on his arrival in Birkenau, to meet a man who tells him to lie about his age. Despite Eliezer's small size, he does not succumb to cold or exhaustion and is not chosen in any of the selections, though many who are healthier than he is are sent to the gas chambers (Weisel 63-109).
In the novel, Eliezer says that the Holocaust "murdered his God," and he often expresses the belief that God could not exist and permit the existence of the Holocaust ( Weisel 73). Elie Wiesel and Eliezer are not exactly the same, but Eliezer expresses, in most cases, the emotions that Wiesel felt at the time of the Holocaust. It is fair to say that Night contains a profound skepticism about God's existence. Yet Eliezer is not enlightened by his rejection of God; instead, he is reduced to the shell of a person. Likewise, Akiba Drumer, upon abandoning his faith, loses his will to live (Weisel 73). Wiesel seems to be suggesting that the events of the Holocaust prove that faith is a necessary element in human survival, because it preserves man, whether or not it is based in reality. Faith, Wiesel seems to say, enables hope, and it is always necessary for the prisoners to maintain hope, in order for them to maintain life. Even when Eliezer claims

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