ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Loss of Humanity, Ultimate Evil in Elie Wiesel's 'Night'

Updated on February 12, 2012
Elie Wiesel's reveals a surprising evil lurking in the concentration camps of World War II.
Elie Wiesel's reveals a surprising evil lurking in the concentration camps of World War II.


Elie Wiesel's Night challenges the reader to examine the worth of a human life in a variety of sick and twisted circumstances. While the memoir's purpose is most certainly to share a tale of great anguish with a wider audience, the story also provides a glimpse into human ethics and morals in an extreme setting not seen before or since the second world war. These extreme conditions show how, when pushed too far, humans are completely capable of atrocities that rival the evil deeds they themselves suffered at the hands of the Nazis. This irony is highly disturbing and it should be noted that while the Nazi's put these people in the position to commit these horrible acts, they did not directly force the action.

There is a definite parallel between the severity of the Jewish crimes and their treatment at the hands of the Nazis. In the beginning, as in the cattle car section, the Jews are treated very badly but things could have been worse. Along the same lines, their treatment of Ms. Schachter was quite uncalled for and harsh, but it could have been worse. These supposedly highly religious and moral Jews had stooped low enough to beat one of their own women unconscious while her young son clung to her arm simply because she was being too loud while they tried to sleep. The treatment of the Jews by the Nazis obviously had some kind of osmotic effect on the prisoners since it took them less than one night to abandon their humanity and beat a defenseless woman-some cheering the act as it happened.

As the treatment of the Jews gets worse, so do their own actions. After their time at Birkenau, the prisoners were in very bad shape. All were starving, but some more than others. At this point, one of the young men kills his own father for his ration of bread and is then promptly surrounded and killed by some of the more disgusted Jews who had seen the crime. While the justice administered by the other Jews is a sign of humanity hanging by a thread in the minds and hearts of the prisoners, the young man who killed his own father signifies as much of a tendency in the opposite direction. The populace has gone from beating a woman senseless to murdering their own parents to survive. While some would argue that the goal of survival could possibly justify the means, the effect the Nazis are having on the minds of the Jews cannot be ignored.

The run through the snow with the SS provides the Jews with a perfect opportunity to abandon all sense of Good and become truly evil beings, and one young Jew takes the chance wholeheartedly. While running, the young man sees his father falling behind and knows that it is his responsibility to stay with him for encouragement and even for protection-since falling down would mean death. Instead, the young Jew opts to ignore his father's plight and feels a great weight lift from his shoulders. Essentially, the son condemned the father to death in hopes that his own chances of survival would be greater without the old man. This is evil incarnate. By abandoning his father after they had come so far together, even before the camps, is a terrible act that puts this man in the same company as the Fuhrer himself. How is this man so different from the boy who killed his father for bread? Secrecy. Manipulation. He gave the impression of a caring son until the moment his father needed him most then left him in such a way that he hoped would keep his dignity intact. That small distinction between the two men, that mal-intent, is what sets them apart.

Seeing the progression of these acts, it is important to note that the Nazis did indeed give the Jews the opportunity and even the excuse to commit these horrible atrocities against their own people but only a select few, only those who had lost their humanity entirely rose to the challenge. The Nazis were guilty of a terrible thing but the Jews who chose to condemn their own people to an early grave are ultimately more responsible for those deaths and more wicked than any Nazi officer.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Lynda 

      3 years ago

      This aritlce keeps it real, no doubt.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)