Originally posted on my blog Guiltless Reading
Night by Elie Wiesel, 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, is one of the most powerful pieces I have ever read. I finished with a heavy feeling in my chest, of tears unshed, of anger and hatred for what inhumanity man can stoop to.
"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. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God himself. Never."
This is a surprisingly thin volume but you will feel drawn into the story. You can’t stop. Beautifully unverbose, it is an unromanticized historical account. It is exhausting to read as you feel the utter exhaustion that Elie went through – horror after horror, pushing one’s body and spirit to the limit. You need to find out what happens to Elie, his family, his father, to the other Jews. I finished this in a day and couldn’t put it down.
While I cannot begin to imagine what horrors they faced. There is so much to be learned that you can only look at yourself and wonder what you would do in their shoes … and know in your heart of hearts that you too would question yourself, fellow human beings, and your God.
What is terrifying is that this is not merely a novel. Everything in it happened. Elie Wiesel held his silence for 10 years before he decided to to tell the world his story and that of many other Holocaust survivors.
"The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference."
That is Wiesel’s message, and it is my sincere hope that I never become indifferent. Please read this book. It has moved me and my husband to tears.