Elie Wiesel's Statistics Surrounding The Holocaust

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Elie Wiesel was only fifteen years old when he arrived with his family by cattle car at Birkenau in May of 1944. He would spend almost a complete year narrowly avoiding the same horrible fate that six million other Jews are said to have suffered at the hands of Nazi Germany. When you take the statistics surrounding the Holocaust into consideration, it is statistically significant that he even managed to survive the almost twelve month ordeal of this living Hell on Earth. However, the impact of the staggeringly high death count, as well as other raw statistics, pales in comparison to the impact of Wiesel's harrowing recounting of his time spent in a waking nightmare. This essay aims to explore how the impact of hearing about someone else's …show more content…
There are some things that simply cannot be tracked or quantified by statistics. The most pertinent example of this is the breakdown of basic humanity Wiesel experienced during his time living in concentration camps. Who would track those statistics, and how would they do it? The breakdown of basic human compassion is known to be a very significant indicator of human suffering, but it is entirely lost in statistics. This fact is part of what makes Wiesel's writing about the Holocaust all so important. Without Wiesel's memoir, I doubt anyone would know about the complete breakdown of the basic faculties of human compassion that was experienced by many in the concentration camps. Wiesel includes several instances of this in his memoir Night, and even included his own struggle to retain his human compassion. The best example of this occurs later in the novel. During the death march out of Buna, the prisoners arrive at …show more content…
He knew that the emotional impact of his experiences would be lost, drowned out by statistics and historical texts, if he didn't put them to paper and have his experiences reach as many minds as possible. Statistics are nothing but numbers, and historical texts are generally very sterile. Historical texts tend to purposefully cut out what some may believe are less important details so as not to disturb readers. Wiesel didn't think these details were unimportant however. Wiesel, in fact, realized just the opposite, that these little details were the most important ones, and the most effective way of reaching out in order to help people understand the true horrors and atrocities of the Holocaust. His purpose in doing this is to prevent future atrocities through enlightenment, and to act as an eternal reminder to not to be indifferent towards the suffering of others, as that's what allowed the Holocaust to go on in the manner that it did. This much can be gathered from the speech he made at the White House, titled "The Perils of Indifference". Indifference allowed the Holocaust to happen, and as he put it, "Indifference, then, is not only a sin, it is a punishment". It is largely due to Elie Wiesel, and indeed other Holocaust writers, that we know so much about the Holocaust outside of dry statistics and historical texts. Without hearing about the experiences of people who actually lived through the Holocaust,

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