Die Nacht Zu Begraben, Elischa

By François Mauriac

4,072 ratings - 4.3* vote

NIGHT Night is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust and toward the end of the Second World War. In just over 100 pages of sparse and fragmented narrative, Wiesel writes about the death of God and his own increasing disgust with humanity, NIGHT Night is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at

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Book details

Paperback, 400 pages
1992 by Ullstein

(first published July 7th 1977)

Original Title
La nuit, L'aube, Le jour
ISBN
3548208231 (ISBN13: 9783548208237)
Edition Language
German

Community Reviews

E. G.

Preface to the New TranslationForeword, by François Mauriac--NightPreface--DawnPreface--Day

Greta G

I don't understand why this is called a trilogy.
'Night' is a holocaust memoir ; 'Dawn' and 'Day' are fiction novels about holocaust survivors.

'Night' was a good read but to be honest I expected it to be much better than it was. His memoir is mainly about the struggle with his faith, which I can understand, but that didn't appeal to me as much as other holocaust memoirs.

'Dawn' was a real drag to read. It's about a young holocaust-survivor who joins a Jewish underground movement in Palestine and is commanded to execute a British officer who has been taken hostage. Sounds promising, but it really wasn't.
It was all about the inner struggle to fulfill the command to execute the officer. Too much philosophizing and mystic rhetoric, in the most pejorative sense possible. In fact, he was whining about it so much that I wished he would put a bullet through his own head.
Because let's not forget, all his whining doesn't change the fact he's a terrorist.
No Stockholm Syndrome for me, thank you very much.

It has put me off reading 'Day', for sure.

Pamela

One of the frightening things about the Holocaust was the fact that in spite of what we wish to believe it was predominantly perpetrated by ordinary people. We like to think that only monsters do monstrous things. I think it is a comfort to us and a way of assuring ourselves that we could never do anything so heinous. The truth of human nature is a lot more complicated, however. I first read Night a while ago and what struck me was Wiesel's guilt over wishing at one point that his father would just die. The survival instinct can take over us all, no one is immune and no one can truly know what they would do if confronted with the horrors Wiesel and others who have experienced such deprivation would face.

This is the first time I have ready Dawn and Day(The Accident) and the truly remarkable aspect of Wiesel's writing is how simple, in a way, he is able to present the dilemma that survivors face. Throughout Dawn I really began to think that Elisha would not be able to execute the British officer. The fact that he went through with this horrible act and yet I felt for him as much as the soldier is chilling in what it says. Not about bad people, but about the bad acts that good people can end up committing. And in Day(The Accident), the question of whether one can truly leave behind a past that is made up of such tremendous tragedy to go on and live a normal life is a difficult one. After all, the past is responsible in so many ways of making us who were are in the present that fully discarding it is impossible.

Wiesel should be required reading.

Tanya

The first book in Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel's Night trilogy is autobiographical, while the subsequent two draw on his Holocaust experiences to craft two very different fictional explorations of life after the concentration camps—harrowing stories, staggering in their visceral honesty and gorgeous prose that relays unimaginable horrors.

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
— from Wiesel's Nobel Peace Price Acceptance Speech, held on 10 December 1986


My individual reviews can be found here:
Night (1956) · ★★★★★
Dawn (1960) · ★★★½
Day (1961) · ★★★★

Ana

Dawn and Day I find much better than Night - but that is just my personal opinion. The short stories are an exercise in imagination on the part of Wiesel, who envisions situations in which he places a character veru much like himself. Because his character is always his age and a Holocaust survivor, he seems real, human, tangible, never fake or drawn out. I read this the day I visited his Memorial House in Sighetul Marmatiei, a town in my country of Romania. He was born and lived here before being deported to Auschwitz. His story and house were fascinating. Tomorrow I'm also visiting Auschwitz - I'm writing this here so I can remember over years - and I hope his books will come in good use whilst witnessing said place.

Chaitra

An odd little trilogy, comprising of one seminal work of non-fiction, and two fictional follow ups. I really have no idea how to review this book, honestly. All I know is that Night should be required reading. That humans are capable of so much depravity shouldn't really surprise me, as it isn't the first time I've read about the Holocaust, nor have I not heard of other similar atrocities, but it does. Night is very simply written, it is shocking in its starkness. It is also a very devout boy's understanding and acceptance of the fact that if there is a God, he's not kind or merciful nor is he a particularly vigilant one.

The other two books Dawn, and the Accident are follow ups to Night. They're fictional post-holocaust books, catching the protagonist at odd moments of his life after the war. Dawn deals with Elisha contemplating the murder of an army captain for political purposes in Palestine, and the Accident has him pondering the idea of suicide as the past is too much to bear. I did not like these to the extent of Night, but they are great books in their own right. The writing in these two books is simple as well and its emotions honest. Great stuff.

Quo

Oddly enough, in reading Night I thought of it as a coming of age story, a Bildungsroman set in a concentration camp. At times the horrors of what Elie Wiesel was forced to endure seemed almost Dickensian, admittedly a curious reaction to a Holocaust story but I quickly got the feeling that Wiesel had put off relating the barbarity of what he experienced until time had at least marginally softened his memories & provided some minimal distance from his experiences. By this, I sense that what Wiesel must have had to tolerate in order to survive was much more horrible than anyone can manage to frame in words. For this reason, he held off telling his story for many years. The tale begins with some interesting boyish memories of life in Sighet in Transylvania, including a struggle to understand God's role in his life, countering what Elie has been told with curiosity about the mystical realm of Judaism. The young Wiesel is told by an itinerant rabbi:
Man raises himself toward God by the questions he asks Him. That is the true dialogue. Man questions God and God answers. But we can't understand His answers. We can't understand them because they come from the depths of the soul, and they stay there until death. You will find the true answers Eliezer, only within yourself.
Life within Auschwitz involved a daily struggle to survive but also & perhaps more importantly to retain hope and to continue a belief in God's mercy for a young Jewish boy raised within a strong religious framework. Elie Wiesel was forced to constantly say Kaddish for fellow inmates of the concentration camp who were detained with him but also for his family and eventually for his own lost faith in God. As with any Holocaust story I am challenged to comprehend how anyone, especially a young boy had the reservoir of mental, emotional & physical strength to brave such horrors.

On a particular day in Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel heard a fellow inmate declaring, "Blessed be the name of the Eternal" and reflected:
Why should I bless Him? In every fiber I rebelled. How could I say "Blessed are Thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe", because he had thousands of children burned & kept six crematories working night & day, He who chose us from among the races to be tortured day & night, to see our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end in a crematory? This day I had ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God was the accused. My eyes were open & I was alone--terribly alone in a world without God & without man. Without love or mercy. I had ceased to be anything but ashes, yet I felt stronger than the Almighty, to whom my life had been tied for so long. I stood amidst those praying, observing it like a stranger.
Among the more memorable scenarios within Night is the image of a friend named Juliek, a boy who struggles on with Elie Wiesel, Elie's father & countless others on yet another involuntary pilgrimage when the camp administrators envision fast-approaching Russian troops & are forced to flee with their surviving captives. Juliek has somehow retained the strength to keep his violin in tow during the brutal march, eventually countering his & the group's fading energy with some strains from the Beethoven Violin Concerto in the midst of a temporary encampment. Come morning, Juliek is dead & the violin smashed.

Elie Wiesel's Night conveys the horrors of a boy's loss of innocence & more than that, the dehumanization of life as he is taken from his home in Sighet to Auschwitz-Birkenau & then on to Buchenwald before eventually regaining his freedom while losing most of his family. We continue to ask how such things were possible. Simon Wiesenthal suggested that "God must have been on leave during the Holocaust." However, when asked where God was at Auschwitz & similar places, Rabbi Heschel said not to ask where God was at the time of the Holocaust but rather to ask where man was. The same question has been posed to many since the Holocaust but Rabbi Heschel's response seems the most satisfactory.



I have read Night as part one of a trilogy published by Hill & Wang, with Elie Wiesel's Dawn and The Accident the other two segments. This is to distinguish this edition from the version that has Day as the 3rd book of the trilogy. Apparently, Wiesel felt that these the first three books he authored constituted in some way a unified tale. It would be cumbersome to report on all 3 volumes within this review & so I've decided to review the other books separately. That said, I have enjoyed reading each of the segments in my version of the trilogy, while continuing to strive toward some understanding of how one man managed not just to endure & to survive Auschwitz but ultimately to prevail, and in so doing to bring at least a limited form of clarity to so many others.

Jeff

I did not expect that the two novels in this collection would be more heartbreaking and devastating than the memoir set in the concentration camps of the Holocaust, but that is precisely what I discovered. That speaks volumes about the scars left upon author Elie Wiesel after his so-called liberation. In Night, Wiesel kept to himself any fears he may have had about the experiences of his mother and younger sister when the trains unloaded, but women young and old play significant roles in Dawn and Day. Together, the collection presents a unique collage of man the survivor, the killer, and the broken. The book gets progressively more philosophical, ultimately asking the question: Which is more powerful, Life or Death? Both fictions had me guessing until the very end. This would make a great discussion group book, save for the fact that its subject matter is so terrible; so incredibly dark.

Jessica

It's difficult to mark a book five stars when your stomach feels like emptying at the end of it.

Anyone who's read Night (and everyone should) knows it isn't your typical light reading. Or your typical heavy reading, for that matter. Night has a way of slapping you in the face, and what's terrifying isn't the picture it paints of the monstrous Nazis (they're actually pretty sparse), but of the monsters that the Nazis succeed in turning their prisoners into. [spoiler]Images of prisoners trampling each other for a crust of bread, or running down their own family to avoid being shot, remain with you forever after reading the book - you can't even begin to imagine what seeing those things first hand is like. What feeling like doing those things must have been like.[/spoiler]

Although they are fiction, Dawn and The Accident are fitting sequels to Night. For many of us, the horror of World War II ends with V-E Day on May 8, 1945. For those who suffered through and survived the concentration camps, Dawn & The Accident remind us that the horror never ends. Every day they are living with the horror of not only what they witnessed, but also what they participated in.

This trilogy is difficult to stomach, but it is for that exact reason that everyone should read it. Shirking from looking at things that are ugly is what leads to the compliance that allowed WWII to happen in the first place. Understanding what happened will help us to prevent it from happening again.

Bucket

I am glad to have read all three of Wiesel's stories at once. The first, Night, is the one everyone has read (and now me too, finally!) and the others, Dawn and The Accident, are about Elie's subsequent life experiences and how the shadow of being a concentration camp survivor permeates every aspect of his life and being.

The night is an important theme that weaves through the stories. In Night, night refers to the actual first night that Elie is in a concentration camp but it also means what his life has become:

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed."

Night also represents his transformation, from a human child with a soul and a future, to an empty shell:

"The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it."

This destruction of the humanity of the Holocaust survivors also becomes a theme of the three stories. In Night, Elie feels he is nothing more than a body:

"I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time."

In Dawn, both themes continue. Elie deals with the loss of his humanity in an unusual way as he contemplates what it will mean for him to become a murderer. He struggles, not because of his own morality or human-feeling, but because of the judgment he feels from all those who he lost during the Holocaust (literally, everyone he knew). Throughout Dawn, Elie is surrounded by the familiar dead, and trying to understand what their presence means. Dawn takes place entirely during the night, with its culminating scene occurring at dawn.

Elie recalls a beggar he met (who is now one of the many dead surrounding him) saying:

“Night is purer than day; it is better for thinking and loving and dreaming. At night everything is more intense, more true. The echo of words that have been spoken during the day takes on a new and deeper meaning. The tragedy of man is that he doesn’t know how to distinguish between day and night. He says things at night that should only be said by day.”

Ilana, a peer of Elie's who feels sorry for him says:

"War is like night...It covers everything."

The final story (The Accident) deals specifically with the ongoing difficulties that Holocaust survivors face. They cannot forget (and do not want to), they feel guilt and shame, both at having experienced what they did and at having survived.

"That’s the way it is: shame tortures not the executioners but their victims. The greatest shame is to have been chosen by destiny. Man prefers to blame himself for all possible sins and crimes rather than come to the conclusion that God is capable of the most flagrant injustice. I still blush every time I think of the way God makes fun of human beings, his favorite toys."

"We cannot forget. The images are there in front of our eyes. Even if our eyes were no longer there, the images would remain. I think if I were able to forget I would hate myself. Our stay there planted time bombs within us. From time to time one of them explodes. And then we are nothing but suffering, shame and guilt."

In this story, after a near-death experience, Elie muses on the need to be a better liar in order to live in the world. He has to lie about loving his girlfriend Kathleen and he has to lie about wanting to live. As he sees the suffering his memories put Kathleen through, Elie realizes:

"I knew that our suffering changes us. But I didn’t know that it could also destroy others."

The last quotation I'll include strikes me as a very clear and honest statement about the lives that Holocaust survivors (and other survivors of brutal violence and injustice) face:

"Anyone who has seen what they have seen cannot be like the others, cannot laugh, love, pray, bargain, suffer, have fun, or forget… These people have been amputated; they haven’t lost their legs or eyes but their will and their taste for life."

Themes: WW2, concentration camp, Jewish, translation, memoir, short story, tragedy, violence, life and death, survival, guilt, shame, memory, fate

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