English 10 3 Mar. 2011 Blood Stained Spirits What was my reaction to Elie Wiesel’s book Night? The only way I can express my reaction is disbelief. I could not believe how much pain was inflicted on the Jews. I could not believe how the world stood by as this extermination happened. I especially could not believe how Elie Wiesel survived to tell this tragic story. It told of a side to the holocaust that I never even knew existed. All the detailed descriptions of the beatings and circumstances the Jews went through was unbelievable. Elies story seems too inhumane to be real.
The Jews were tortured every day for no reason at all other than for the SS officers’ own amusement. The SS officers treated the men as if they were animals, making them fight for food. Women, babies, old, sick, and handicapped were put into the crematoriums as soon as they arrived at the camps. Eliezer talks about how “one day when Idek was venting his fury, I happened to cross his path. He threw himself on me like a wild beast, beating me in the chest, on my head, throwing me to the ground and picking me up again, crushing me with ever more violent blows, until I was covered in blood. (Wiesel 53). That was the life Elie lived, the harsh beatings were always just around the corner. It is easy to understand why Elie has lost all faith in God after what he witnessed. Nothing was too inhumane for the Nazis when it came to exterminating the Jews. As Elie and his father go deeper into the camp they saw a ditch, “They were burning something. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load-little children” (Wiesel30). The SS thought of Jews as workers and nothing more. The children were worthless to the SS and got rid of them in mass burnings.
These descriptions put the reader in the story that Elizer is telling, showing the reader what an awful time and place the Holocaust was. Rations of food were very scarce for the Jews. They were only given enough to keep moving on throughout each day. This was the worst form of torture the SS did. Wiesel Writes, “”I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time” (Wiesel4). The bodies of the Jews were like skeletons, just skin and bones, no body fat between them.
So now when the SS officers beat them, the jews they were very weak and took days to recover. Nazis only tortured Jews for one reason: because they could. It seems that disbelief was the only thing Elie saw in people’s eyes throughout the entire book of Night. Those not directly involved with the Holocaust were still alive physically, but their mind and spirit had long been dead. By the end of the war, Elie loses all of his faith in God and his fellow man, and this is the most difficult obstacle to overcome when he is released.