Imagery Of Dehumanization In Elie Wiesel's Night

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Imagery of Dehumanization in Night
Over the course of almost two millennia, anti-Semitism has constantly presented itself in European conflicts in the form of blaming, scapegoating, and prejudice against the Jews. During the Holocaust, this incessant hatred led to the identification and deportation of millions of people from their homes, the concentration in the camps, and extermination of entire families and Jewish communities at once. For nearly a decade, Jews, prisoners-of-war, homosexuals, and the disabled were rounded up, sent off to camps, and systematically slaughtered in unimaginably inhumane ways. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, shares his experiences at Auschwitz in the memoir Night, which reveals the true extent of inhumanity
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On the day of Elie’s deportation, the Jews of Sighet are led into the cattle cars waiting for them at the station with “eighty people in each car. We were left a few loaves of bread and some buckets of water […] In each car one person was placed in charge. If anyone escaped, he would be shot” (Wiesel 31). The way they are crammed into the cars is cruel and blatantly inhumane, with barely any food or space to move around. When the cattle cars finally reach Birkenau, emotionless SS officers split up countless families, and send those who were unfit to survive straight to the fire: “Not far from us, flames were leaping up from a ditch, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drew up at the pit and delivered its load - little children. Babies! Yes, I saw it - saw it with my own eyes… those children in the flames” (Wiesel 41). This instance of cruelty illustrates the pure dehumanization of the Nazis; they had become so cold and unsympathetic that they could easily watch innocent children burn alive in the fire without even blinking an eye. By this point, the Nazis have lost all compassion and understanding that they once had and become monsters. By seeing this, Elie grows partially dehumanized as well: he has trouble sleeping after seeing the atrocities committed by the Nazis to completely harmless people. In Night, Wiesel remembers his first night in the camp: “Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky” (Wiesel 43). Considering how the Nazis were able to heartlessly watch men and women, adults and children suffer in the camps, it’s no wonder that they had to be something inhuman, something beyond mercilessness. And this barbarity begins to make an impact on the Jews in the camp as

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