Pandora 's Reviews > Night

Night by Elie Wiesel
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Apr 05, 2010

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bookshelves: adult
Read from April 05 to 10, 2010

Just finished reading the book today. Tough book to read because of the subject manner. Being German - American I am torn between wanting to understand what happened and a desire well not exactly to forget but, to not think about.. Reading the book I know though forgetting would be too dangerous and it is a subject to confront.

I also learned when the Holocaust is so different from other horrors such as slavery and other geocide programs. It not that the suffering or horrors are greater or lesser. It is because the Holocaust was so efficient in killing (Nine million) that as Wiesel writes God was murdered.

Indeed coming up with a theology that can include the Holocaust is a difficult task. Yet, unlike Wiesel I am struggling to do so. Though I agree with Wiesel that God the being if he ever existed died in the camps. However there is still God the power.

Added comments:

Another aspect that makes the Holocaust stands out is that the victims were forced in to adding to their own horrors. Sons turned against fathers. Prisoners would kill each other for a crumb of bread.

There was also no turning away from the reality of it. There were pictures, survivors account, those who liberated the camps. The whole world bore witness to it. As a result the world was also changed. The world could no longer be innocent.

As you look at the movies and the culture that came after 1946 it does seem that the Holocaust was the turning point for what we take as modern society. The movies shifted and started to take issues directly on. The Hayes code cracked open.

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message 1: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks I'm always torn about Holocaust literature and accounts as well. On the one hand, I think that I need to and should read these, on the other hand, these accounts always make me feel incredibly guilty and angry not just at myself for being German, but at my German relatives etc. I know that some people find Holocaust accounts and literature both interesting and comforting. I find these accounts emotionally draining and, while I make a point to read them, I almost feel as though I generally do not have the right to comment on them, that I only have the right to be ashamed of myself and my background.

Pandora That is exactly how I have always felt. Growing up I always wished I could have a cooler background like Irish. Heck even Russian seemed better than German.

As for the guilt I got a load of it last Sunday because the church service was on the Holocaust. The actually sermon was very good on how in ancient times the Jewish religion was reinvented to what we know of it today.

The hard part though was hearing a survivor speaking of her Grandfather who waited too late to leave German. I had just finished Night so I could fill in what happened.

As I was leaving the church though it occured to me that the other side of the story is never told. That of being German and dealing with being linked to such evil as the Holocaust. There are truths to be find on this side of the story to - perhaps, even greater truths than the victims account.

I have also visited Germany. Walking through Berlin and seeing all the reminders of the Holocaust I began to wonder if Germany was maybe the most blessed of nations.

America like most other nations have has had their versions of Holocaust evil. Slavery and the Indian genocide programs - talk about a successful program. The Indians in this country has become truly the invisiable people.

There are few reminders of these and nothing like what Germany has done in Berlin. Instead the Holocaust museum came before the Indian museum to Washington D.C. and there is still no national museum on slavery.

So, when I say Germany might be the most blessed of nations is because it will be a long time before Germany would ever allow such madness to come if ever. The Germans know too well the dangers of listening to hate. Something that many other nations seem to forgot.

So, in the end perhaps it is the German voice that should be heard most of all. Yes, Germany bears the mark of Cain but, as Steinbeck pointed out in East of Eden story who better understands the meaning of Tismel - thou mayest overcome sin.

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