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Never Forget the Crimes

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In the memoir Night, Elie Wiesel recalls details from the horror he, his family, and other Jews endured during the Holocaust. From the first chapter, the Germans have already begun to constrain the Jews. The Jews find themselves with a variety of restrictions from wearing a yellow star to being unable to visit restaurants and cafes. Soon, ghettos are formed and the simple restrictions become less bearable. Over time, the Jews worst fears are finally brought to life; they are transported to concentration camps. During the course of the rest of the novel, Wiesel recounts the gruesome details of the genocide to achieve his purpose. Through the creation of Night, Wiesel provides a witness to the crime so as to prevent the enemy from victory; however, in today’s world, we forget these memories and become accomplices.

By using imagery of dehumanization and questioning of religion, Wiesel makes the plot memorable and less likely to be forgotten over time. Imagery throughout the novel provides vivid mental pictures of the dehumanization occurring to the victims. “They passed me by, like beaten dogs, with never a glance in my direction” (17). This comparison shows that the Jews are more animal-like than human. In addition, while being transported, bread is thrown in through the window slits to the Jews. Because they have been starved, they fight over the bread. Sons kill their fathers for just a small morsel. Wiesel also provides detailed change in his religious values. At the exposition of the novel, he is devoted to his faith and is taught Kabbalah. “I would run to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the temple” (3); however, these opinions are changed as more misery is undergone. Over time, Wiesel questions his religion. “I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice” (45). Towards the end of the novel, Wiesel has lost trust in God. “Praised by Thy Holy Name, for having chosen us to be slaughtered on Thine altar” (67). The Holocaust resulted in the dehumanization and loss of faith in countless Jews which is emphasized in Night to accomplish Wiesel’s purpose.

Today, even the worst crimes are overlooked, allowing for a victory by the enemy. This is evident today in the United States court system. For example, this summer in Florida, it was ruled that George Zimmerman, neighborhood watch volunteer, was not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed seventeen year old. Martin had been walking home when Zimmerman approached him (Williams). In addition, Casey Anthony, mother of two-year old daughter, Kaylee, was acquitted after being accused of murdering her daughter. Kaylee’s disappearance was not reported till thirty days after it was discovered that she was missing. During that time, witnesses say Anthony spent time with her boyfriend and went to various nightclubs (Tauber and Steve 90). In addition, genocide is being disregarded across the globe. For instance, in the recent bombing during the Boston Marathon, various warnings were given to the United States by Russia about the jihadists (After Boston 13). Lastly, In Syria, Bashar al-Assad's government ordered the genocide of its citizens through the use of chemical weapons. The United States, Britain, and France are predicted to have little military involvement (Bew 20). Moreover, Victory is achieved by the enemy even today due to their crimes being overlooked.

By creating Night, Wiesel provides a warning and evidence to why ghastly corruptions should be remembered. Without these memories, the pattern continues and the enemy attains success. In Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize speech, he encourages people to take sides. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim” (118). The world must learn to act for the right cause no matter the consequences. As time passes, memories will fade and no one will be held responsible for the criminal acts committed today.



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