The 2022 theme for European American and Holocaust Remembrance Month encourages all associates to join in activities that refresh our memories of the Holocaust and underscore the resiliency of those who endured the horrors, so that we never forget. This week we highlight a review of Night, by Elie Wiesel. We encourage you to read this work and share your thoughts with Alan Shatz, Special Emphasis Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Night is an autobiographical recounting of the horrors a young Jewish boy experienced near the end of the Second World War. The author, Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, describes how there were signs and warnings as early as 1942 of the difficult times ahead, but people refused to believe them. The Jews in Elie’s small Transylvanian village of Sighet, part of Hungary at the time, did not believe the harassment and atrocities experienced by Jews throughout all European areas occupied by Hitler’s Nazis could ever happen to them. Ultimately, their traumatic experiences began in the spring of 1944, not with the Nazis, but with their own government, after the Fascist Party gained control. With the new Fascist government’s approval, the Germans entered Hungary and young Elie’s life changed forever.
The author chronicles his journey from the formation of ghettos in his village, through being transported with his family, like cattle, to a Polish town previously unknown to them – Auschwitz. He describes how he and his father were separated from his mother and three sisters, the mistreatment from both captors and fellow prisoners, the cruelty, the humiliation, the hunger, the thirst, the cold, the forced labor, and the crematoriums. Eliezer Wiesel was 15 years old when he was sent to his first concentration camp and was a prisoner from May 1944 into April 1945 when his camp was liberated by the United States Third Army. Throughout his captivity he experienced the absolute worst of humanity often wondering how the world was letting it happen. Elie and his father were together for most of his internment, until his father succumbed to the deplorable conditions near the end of January 1945. Elie never saw his mother or younger sister again but was eventually reunited with his two older sisters following the war.
Although we each experience our own life’s trials and tribulations, we should all read this book to gain perspective and to learn how Eliezer Wiesel’s resilience helped him survive a living nightmare. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism and was involved in creating the National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
This series will continue next week with a review of the 1993 film, Schindler’s List.
Editor’s note: April is European American and Holocaust Remembrance Month. This is the second in a series of articles with the intention recognizing European Americans, specifically those European Jews murdered or marginalized by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. This year’s theme is “Resiliency, The Strength of a People…Never Forget.” The Holocaust was a genocide that refers specifically to the attempted annihilation of European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. Annual remembrances ensure we never forget.
The opinions expressed by individuals do not constitute DoD or DLA endorsement and shall not be used for advertising purposes.