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Night ()

New York Public Library's Books of the Century

The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm, biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him. This time the camp executioner refused to act as executioner. Three SS replaced him.

The victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the same moment within the nooses. "Long live Liberty!" cried the two adults. But the child was silent.

"Where is God? Where is He?" someone behind me asked.

At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over.

Total silence throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. "Bare your heads!" yelled the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. "Cover your heads!"

Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive...

For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. Behind me I heard the same man asking: "Where is God now?"

And I hear a voice within me answer him: "Were is he? Here He is - He is hanging here on this gallows. . . "

    Elie Wiesel, Night


Grade: (A)


Book-related and General Links:
    Elie Wiesel Bio
    -INTERVIEW: Elie Weisel (Bold Type)
    -ESSAY: A Sacred Magic Can Elevate the Secular Storyteller: As part of the Writers on Writing series, Elie Wiesel says how stories from the Hasidic tradition influenced his writing. (NY Times)
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    -Holocaust Survivors (personal accounts)

There are a couple of good books about the Balkans:

Kaplan, Robert
    -Balkan Ghosts : A Journey Through History

West, Rebecca
    -Black Lamb and Grey Falcon : A Journey Through Yugoslavia

If you liked Night, try:

Gage, Nicholas

Keneally, Thomas
    -Schindler's List

Min, Anchee
    -Red Azalea

Perel, Shlomo
    -Europa, Europa

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr
    -One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
    -The Gulag Archipelago


I read this book when I was a teenager, and it still gives me nightmares. Night is one of the most important books ever written. It should be required reading for all high school students. Weisel's style and the terribly true subject matter are positively haunting.

- Kelly

- Jan-26-2007, 12:43