Elie Wiesel's Night: The Effects Of The Holocaust

1065 Words 5 Pages
What comes to mind when you think of the Holocaust? Is it the millions of Jewish lives taken, or Adolf Hitler? These are all things that often come to mind But what about all the people affected emotionally by the horrors they experienced? When we think about the Holocaust as the event that killed 6 million Jews, we should also remember the impact that it had on those that survived too. These people were often left as hollow shells of what they once were, with nobody to turn to. We see these effects in Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, which demonstrates the idea that the Holocaust stripped people of their dignity and ability to live a normal life. Fundamentally, the Holocaust dehumanized everyone in concentration camps through forced labor, dress, …show more content…
Many people experienced a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder that never went away. The Holocaust may not have taken the lives of all Jews, but it certainly took their livelihood. The emotional cost of the the Holocaust was severe. Elie’s family is being transported to the ghetto when Wiesel writes, “My father was crying. It was the first time I saw him cry, I had never thought it possible. As for my mother, she was walking, her face a mask, without a word, deep in thought. As for my sister, Tzipora...she was clenching her teeth; she already knew it was useless to complain” (Wiesel 19). Wiesel shows how different people reacted differently; however, each individual was somehow harmed emotionally. This emotional scarring was something that stayed with people long after the event actually occurs. Dehumanization of the Jews had many negative effects. “‘Faster, you filthy dogs!’ We were no longer marching, we were running. Like automatons....if one of us stopped for a second, a quick shot eliminated the filthy dog” (Wiesel 85). Wiesel uses simile and metaphor to demonstrate dehumanization as a means to destroy the lives of people in the camps. In this passage, he refers to Jews as both dogs and robots, as animals and objects, not people. It implies that they are unimportant, and that their lives could be terminated in an instant and nobody would care. Furthermore, the use of dehumanization gives the reader an idea …show more content…
As a result of the Holocaust, husbands and wives were separated from one another, and in many cases, never saw one another again. Even if they met once again, they had been apart so long, they could never connect the same way again. As Wiesel entered the camps SS officers shouted, “‘Men to the left! Women to the right!’ Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight simple, short words” (Wiesel 29). This is the last time Wiesel’s father ever saw his wife. It’s horrifying how people could be permanently split so suddenly. Undoubtedly the splitting of relationships in this way caused both people to lose hope and the ability to keep going. Another type of relationship that was affected by the Holocaust was that between fathers and sons. As time progresses in the camp, younger people are able to grow stronger, whereas elders grow ever weaker. This results in tension between fathers and sons, as the sons are forced to take care of their fathers. Rabbi Eliahu’s son abandons his father in the interest of survival, and likely out of anger and frustration he felt towards his weak and needy father. After having a conversation with Rabbi Eliahu about where his son might have gone, “I remembered something else: his son had seen him losing ground, sliding back to the rear of the column. He had seen him. And he had continued to run in

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