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What, for Wiesel, are those motives, if they exist?The Rabbi of Kotzk, a European village later destroyed in the Holocaust, is famous for being bold enough to challenge God: “Our Father, our King,” he said, “I shall continue to call You Father until You become our Father.” For Wiesel, is there a purpose to faith even without the existence or justice of God? It is possible to look at Night as the story of Eliezer’s loss of innocence.At certain moments—during his first night in the camp and during the hanging of the pipel—Eliezer does grapple with his faith, but his struggle should not be confused with a complete abandonment of his faith.
In the midst of the dying men in Gleiwitz, the violinist Juliek plays a fragment of music written by the German composer Beethoven.
Before and after the Holocaust, many people wondered how the Germans, cultured Europeans, could commit such barbaric acts.
At the beginning of the work, his faith in God is absolute. In other words, Eliezer has grown up believing that everything on Earth reflects God’s holiness and power.
When asked why he prays to God, he answers, “Why did I pray? His faith is grounded in the idea that God is everywhere, all the time, that his divinity touches every aspect of his daily life.
His faith is equally shaken by the cruelty and selfishness he sees among the prisoners.
If all the prisoners were to unite to oppose the cruel oppression of the Nazis, Eliezer believes, then maybe he could understand the Nazi menace as an evil aberration.But the very fact that he asks these questions reflects his commitment to God.Discussing his own experience, Wiesel once wrote, “My anger rises up within faith and not outside it.” Eliezer’s struggle reflects such a sentiment.Author Elie Wiesel wrote Night (1960) about his experience that he and his family endured in the concentration camps during World War II between 19, primarily taking place the notorious camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald.More than just about the horrific conditions that prisoners had to endure in the camp, is also an unnerving insight into the breakdown of humanity and followers’ loss of faith in God himself.It might be argued, too, that innocence is impossible after the Holocaust. Is it tragic, or is innocence an impediment to survival, as when the Jews are too innocent to believe that Hitler really means to kill them?Eliezer’s struggle with his faith is a dominant conflict in Night. Initially, Eliezer’s faith is a product of his studies in Jewish mysticism, which teach him that God is everywhere in the world, that nothing exists without God, that in fact everything in the physical world is an “emanation,” or reflection, of the divine world.He then revised it to a 245 page edition entitled “And the World Remained Silent” which was published in Argentina.The most famous version that we know today by the title “Night” was published in French as “La Nuit.” Little known to many is that , which is said to convey both a Jewish folkloric practice of beginning day at nightfall, and also conveys Wiesel’s own transition in life post holocaust.Yet, there are minor differences between Wiesel’s own experiences and those of Night’s narrator, Eliezer. How might his advocacy for human rights have grown out of his Holocaust experiences?What are the positive lessons of the Holocaust that Wiesel hints at in Night?