Elie Wiesel's Use Of Dehumanization In Night

1090 Words 5 Pages
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