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Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)
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June 2017: Other Books > Night by Elie Wiesel - 5 stars

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Marina (Sonnenbarke) (Sonnenbarke) According to Wikipedia, "Reviewers have had difficulty reading Night as an eyewitness account. It has been categorized as a novel, autobiography, autobiographical novel, non-fictional novel, semi-fictional memoir, fictional-autobiographical novel, fictionalized autobiographical memoir and memoir-novel. Ellen Fine described it as témoignage (testimony). Wiesel called it his deposition."

I must admit I struggle to understand why people should have "difficulty" reading this book as non-fiction, since its author called it a "deposition". So why not believe him? In any case, I don't think it's really important to know whether this is fiction or non-fiction, because its subject matter is so important that it should be read anyway. If the things Wiesel describes haven't actually happened to him, they might have happened, or maybe they happened to someone else. We are talking about history here, not about a fictional world.

Eliezer (Elie) Wiesel was deported to Auschwitz together with his family when he was just 15, in 1944. He was then moved to Birkenau, Buna and eventually Buchenwald, soon before the Red Army comes to Birkenau. He remained in Buchenwald until April 11th, 1945, when the Red Army freed the remaining prisoners.

This is an extremely interesting, heartbreaking account of what happened before the deportation and in the concentration camp(s).

Eliezer Wiesel and his family come from Sighet, Transylvania, now Romania. The persecution of the Jews started later there than in the rest of Europe. People didn't believe things were bad, even when one of the first deported managed to come back alive and warned them about their fate. They thought he was insane or wanted to be pitied. Eventually all Jews of Sighet were deported, so they had to believe that they were condemned to death.

Eliezer managed to stay with his father almost until the end, while his mother and little sister were immediately killed. We are told the story of everything that went on in the concentration camp, and that in only little over 100 pages.

This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read, and I think it should be read alongside more famous books such Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl or Primo Levi's If This Is a Man (at least, they are more famous in Italy, I don't know about other countries). This book should be required reading in all schools. It is so important to read it. So that we see what happened, and we never forget.


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Zwang | 411 comments Very good review. Thank you for the Wikipedia information, I had no idea. I always took it for face value that this is what happened to him. I agree I think it should be required reading. I will see if my son gets assigned this in high school.


Marina (Sonnenbarke) (Sonnenbarke) Thanks, Diane, I'm glad you liked my review. I sure hope your son gets to read to this book.


message 4: by Joi (new)

Joi (MissJoious) | 1702 comments Marina wrote: "This book should be required reading in all schools. "

I can't say for everyone, but in my school district growing up this book was required reading for all freshman in high school. Night, Frankenstein, and Romeo and Juliet are the three required for all freshman regardless of honors status or not.


Marina (Sonnenbarke) (Sonnenbarke) That's very interesting, Joi, thanks for sharing.


Jenni Elyse (jenni_elyse) | 894 comments I agree with you, Marina. I went into it thinking it was non-fiction. I found it fascinating and very eye-opening. There were things he included that I didn't know about and I'm a WWII/Holocaust history buff. It was such a heart-wrenching tale. And, I think everyone should read it too.


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