Elie Wiesel's Use Of Dehumanization In Night

Improved Essays
Dehumanization in Night
One of the world’s darkest periods, known as the Holocaust, was initiated and lead by Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a malicious man who over the course of his reign ultimately killed about six million Jews. Many of them were deported and distributed to concentration camps where German Nazis used numerous methods to torture innocent people. Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night documents the atrocities he experienced during World War II. Not only were these victims starved, beaten and enslaved, but they were also stripped of their humanity. The inhumane treatment of the Jewish prisoners forcibly evoked their instinct to survive and caused them to act as the animals the Nazis convinced them they were.
To illustrate the reasons for the
…show more content…
In the barracks, the prisoners got few rations of bread and soup that did not satiate their hunger. This lack of food results in many Jews refusing to fast for their tradition of Yom Kippur. The prisoners’ starvation hinders their ability to perform in religious customs. When the Jewish prisoners are in the cattle wagons to Buchenwald, Wiesel describes how “a workman took a piece of bread out of his bag and threw it into a wagon. There was a stampede. Dozens of starving men fought each other to the death for a few crumbs” (95). Murdering one another for just a small amount of bread makes these men analogous to animals, as if they have thrown away any rules of society. Now that food is extremely limited, one’s ability to acquire food is of the highest priority. As his father is dying, the head of the block advises, “don’t give your ration of bread and soup to your old father…you’re killing yourself” (105). He is being directed to not help his father because of how valuable food is. Being starved resulted in the prisoners behaving in a greedy and selfish way even towards their own family. Although it was enormously effective, starvation is not the only way the SS strip prisoners of their …show more content…
The prisoners begin to turn on each other as one outcome of this disgusting treatment. Wiesel catalogs how they verbally insult each other, “You shut your trap, you filthy swine, or I’ll squash you right now!” (28) and physically abuse each other, “He leapt on me, like a wild animal, hitting me in the chest, on the head, throwing me down and pulling me up again, his blows growing more and more violent, until I was covered with blood” (50). Both of these actions illustrate the prisoners’ change of ethics; a change that will likely last a lifetime. The prisoners become numb to ideas that in the past shocked them. They gradually become accustomed to murder as another, outcome of exposure to such cruelty by the SS. Displaying that he was inured to the hangings Juliek, one of prisoners, quietly speaks to Wiesel, “Do you think this ceremony’ll (sic) be over soon? I’m hungry” (59). He speaks of the hangings as if they are not as tragic as they actually are; as if his appetite is more significant than these people losing their lives. Consequently, the strict environment the prisoners are forced to be in caused them to give up their individually that made them human. The Jewish prisoners have to give up their families and freedom. As soon as Wiesel swaps his name for the identity A-7713, he no longer feels valued. After they are sorted and deprived of

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    About 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The book Night written by Elie Wiesel is his account of what occurred to him and the others around him during the Holocaust. The Holocaust was the worst genocide in the world because the Nazis killed people of any age, the concentration camps had the worst possible conditions, and the Nazis treated the prisoners like animals. One reason the Holocaust was the worst genocide in the world is the Nazis killed people of any age. One piece of evidence that shows this is “They were burning something.…

    • 1217 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    While traveling from place to place bystanders would watch the prisoners starve, and they would throw bread at them just to watch them fight over it. Fighting over food is a choiceless choice because it helps them survive. Wiesel recalls that, “A shadow had lain down beside him. And this shadow threw himself over him... the old man was crying...’ Don’t you recognize me…You’re killing your father’….The old man mumbled something, groaned, and died.” (Wiesel 101). The will to survive is a choiceless choice that blinded prisoners into killing their own flesh and blood.…

    • 1006 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Deep inside me, I felt a great void opening” (Wiesel 69), explained Eliezer. When Elie realizes the low depths of life that have become apparent, Elie feels devastated that now being a prisoner means the amount of food prepared is all that will be provided, and that amount of food is not enough. Wiesel knows how the body breaks down without food though, so whatever provided must be eaten . In all reality, stale bread and watery soup is not even served in on a regular basis. The German people were truly treating those whom had been imprisoned as less than people.longfully, the Jews had to buy into the dehumanization that was occurring as well in order to simply survive.…

    • 1132 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The holocaust was genocide against the Jewish race. Elie Wiesel’s memoir “Night” was a firsthand view of what the Jewish people were put through at the hands of Nazi Germany. The concentration camp system methodically debilitated the prisoners through the heartless process of dehumanization. Each prisoner of the concentration camps was stripped of everything they had ever known, leaving them feeling worthless. This forced change through a loss of faith, loss of compassion and loss of physical health.…

    • 1876 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    What do you know about the awful things that happened to the Jewish during the time of the Holocaust? The word “Holocaust,” which came from the Greek words “holos,” meaning whole, and “kaustos,” meaning burned, was a word used to describe a sacrificial offering that is burned completely. But, during the 20th century, an agonizing event occurred, giving the word a new and horrible meaning. The Holocaust was a systematic, bureaucratic, and state-sponsored persecution by the Nazi regime that led to the massacre of 6 million Jews. This event because of the Nazis coming to power in Germany in January 1933.…

    • 1640 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A Gateway to Death In Night, Elie Wiesel explains his sinister experience of the concentration camps and its ruthless captors. When Wiesel witnessed the deaths and tortures of his race, he became bitter and pessimistic. When he watched the Jews burn, starve, or beaten to death by the captors, Wiesel felt that God was no longer on the Jews’ side. He felt that all hope was lost and that his death was near. Wiesel expresses his emotion and experience through figurative language, such as the Jews’ lives, loss of faith, and empathy.…

    • 771 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Holocaust was a ghastly event that caused the mass genocide of the Jewish population under the Nazi Regime. The Nazis put the Jewish people into camps with abhorrent and gruesome living conditions, some of which seem to be places of inhospitality. Many died from acts of violence, starvation, illness, and many other horrors. The sights of rotting corpses, hanging bodies, and the malnourished is more than enough to leave a mental scar. The survivors of these concentration camps show that the physical pain did not stick with them, but it was the mental trauma that scarred their minds.…

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    “In the concentration camps, we discovered this whole universe where everyone had his place. The killer came to kill, and the victims came to die” (Elie Wiesel). This alternate universe is nothing but one of destruction: the death of the soul. When one is constantly being beaten down, one no longer desires to live. In Elie Wiesel’s Night, the Jewish people lose their desire to live as a consequence of enduring extreme dehumanization at the hands of the Nazis.…

    • 1375 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Dehumanization In Night

    • 831 Words
    • 4 Pages

    “Once more the young men tied her up and gagged her. They even struck her. People encouraged them.” When she says she sees the fire, everyone tells her to shut up and forcibly detain and beat her into silence. The depressing part is that people cheered them on, which is a major moment when they even look at themselves differently as dehumanization The act of dehumanization has taken a tremendous toll on the events of the…

    • 831 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Throughout Wiesel 's experience Wiesel describes , “[An] old man [mumbling] something and died. Nobody cared. His son searched him, took the crust of bread, and began to devour it” meaning that when it came down to it, even family did not matter in survival (Wiesel 101). This changes the identity of many of the Jews, because it disrupts their morals in terms of whether or not to kill someone for survival. This causes them to question who they really are, people or animals.…

    • 1019 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays