Response: Night by Eliezer Wiesel
Before beginning taken to Birkenau concentration camp, Eliezer Wiesel was a devoted Jew who held strong faith in God. Even while at the camps, in the very beginning, Wiesel kept his faith in God. A Polish inmate also told the other inmates to keep their faith, as they will all see the day of liberation (Wiesel 41).
Weiser managed to keep his faith until forced to face the horrors the Holocaust brought with it. He witnessed infants cremated alive, children and men alike keeling over from exhaustion and starvation, and a child hung but was too light to die immediately. After the incident of the child remaining alive while he swung from the gallows, collectively, Jews began to question the whereabouts of their Lord as they asked, “For God’s sake, where is God,” while Eliezer began to believe god was, “hanging here from this gallows…” (Wiesel 65). As days in Auschwitz dragged by for Eliezer and he witnessed more horror, he began to feel enraged by God. His loss of faith was finalized when he was no longer capable to find answers to why God goes on troubling these poor people’s wounded minds and ailing bodies or what God’s purpose is in the face of this cowardice, this decay, and this misery (Wiesel 66).
Wiesel states that he no longer accepts God’s silence and that is the reason he will no longer follow Yom Kippur tradition (Wiesel 69). He even feels a great void opening from within him when he commits an act of defiance against the Lord by refusing to fast (Wiesel 69). It is at this point Wiesel truly begins to change his attitude as his morals wane and he begins to give into his instincts of self-preservation. Wiesel continues to shift his attitude as he notes that things such as the crematorium’s tall chimney , and the begrudging way he now gave his father his soup, no longer shocked him they way they would have at the beginning of his time in concentration camps (Wiesel 104). His previously generous, caring character had died somewhere along the way without him noticing while a selfish, cold person replaced it.
Although selfish thoughts of hoping to find his father dead so that he would no longer have to care for him sometimes crept into his mind, Wiesel would instantly feel ashamed of himself for thinking such things (Wiesel 106). As he stopped believing in the grandeur of God, he also lost the morality and principals of kindness that he had once lived by as a devoted Jew, allowing him to start thinking of his father’s survival second to his own. Even a Blockalteste advised Wiesel to stop giving his rations to his father, as he told Wiesel, “…you are only hurting yourself. In fact you should be getting his rations…” (Wiesel 111).