Elie Wiesel Biography

Samantha Navarrete

Mrs. Joanne Treffner


1 June 2015

Shedding Light on Night

“The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.” -Mal Pancoast

Elie Wiesel would definitely have agreed with Mrs. Pancoast. Almost seventy years have passed since the liberation of Buchenwald in 1945 when Elie Wiesel was released from the clenches of the Nazi Germany concentration camp. Through the hardships and devastating conditions. Elie Wiesel survived to write his heart wrenching memoir La Nuit (Night) as a tattered memory of the horrific nature of human hatred.

Born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet, Transylvania (now part of Romania), Elie

Wiesel was born into a family of four (later five, counting his little sister, Tzipora) ("Elie
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This camp alone was responsible for more than six million lives, almost all of which were German Jews. Of his relatives, only he and two of his sisters survived ("Elie Wiesel Biography."). His father passed selection, a brutal and heartless decision made by S.S. officers on who would live and die by a mere flick of their finger, but died before he could be liberated, and his mother and younger sister, Tzipora, did not pass. “I didn 't know that this was the moment in time and the place where I was leaving my mother and Tzipora forever. (Wiesel, 29)”. Wiesel lived in the camps under deplorable, inhumane conditions, gradually starving with each passing day ("Elie Wiesel Biography."). Wiesel may very well not have survived had it not been for the motivation and the constant prompting from his father to do so. Wiesel and his father spent nearly a year before, almost weeks after his father 's death, he was set free. After the liberation of the camps in April 1945, Wiesel spent a few years in a French orphanage where he was reunited with his older sisters, Hilda and Bea. It was on the urging of Catholic writer Francois Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature, that Elie wrote about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir …show more content…
Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness, the immense, terrifying madness that had erupted in history and in the conscience of mankind? Was it to leave behind a legacy of words, of memories, to help prevent history from repeating itself? Or was it simply to preserve a record of the ordeal I endured as an adolescent, at an age when one 's knowledge of death and evil should be limited to what one discovers in literature? There are those who tell me that I survived in order to write this text. I am not convinced. I don 't know how I survived; I was weak, rather shy; I did nothing to save myself. A miracle? Certainly not. If heaven could or would perform a miracle for me, why not for others more deserving than myself? It was nothing more than chance. However, having survived, I needed to give some meaning to my survival. Was it to protect that meaning that I set to paper an experience in which nothing made any sense? In retrospect I must confess that I do not know, or no longer know, what I wanted to achieve with my words. I only know that without this testimony, my life as a writer—or my life, period—would not have become what it is: that of a witness who believes he has a moral obligation to try to prevent the enemy from enjoying one last victory by allowing his crimes to be erased from human memory.

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