Nobel Peace Prize winner, journalist, professor and author of more than 40 works of fiction and non-fiction passed away July 2, 2016. His acclaimed memoir, Night, has been in my “to be read” pile (affectionately becoming known as Mount To Be Read) for quite a while and it was about time that I read it. It is a devastating read – full of sadness and horror at the treatment of human beings.
Wiesel and his family lived in Sighet, Romania. Like many other Jewish families they missed their opportunity to flee while they remained in disbelief about the stories they were hearing. At the age of 15 years his family (including his parents, 2 older sisters and 1 younger sister), friends and neighbours were rounded up and packed into trains heading for Auschwitz. On arrival, his mother and sisters were separated and he and his father were sent to a work camp called Buchenwald. Wiesel became prisoner number A-7713 during almost a year in captivity.
Wiesel and his father did their best to look out for each other and stay together despite horrible conditions, abuse, starvation, freezing temperatures and work. As the front moved closer, the prisoners were marched through the cold with no food or drink into Germany, many dying along the journey.
Wiesel eventually was reunited with his two older sisters in an orphanage. He discovered that his mother and younger sister had died. His father succumbed shortly before the war ended in the camp. He later studied in France, coming a journalist, before moving to the United States. He received his Nobel Peace Prize in 1986
Night is an important memoir and essential for the world to reflect on. The graphic description depicts the horror of the holocaust and certainly gives a stronger history of the horrors of WWII than I ever studied in highschool. It is a serious topic and likely not he best choice for holidays yet it is literature that needs to be shared with new generations.