Night

Author: Elie Wiesel
Fiction or Non-Fiction: considered a novel although it is largely autobiographical
Time period:  WWII
Book length: 116 pgs
What communities does this book explore? Jewish
Short summary of the book:  A gut wrenching firsthand account of a jewish teenage boy’s experience in the concentration camps during WWII. The Wiesel family lived in a Transylvanian town that was isolated and largely untouched by WWII until late in the war when they are snatched from their lives and ultimately moved to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. The horrors of the Holocaust are unimaginable but imperative we know them to never allow this to happen again.
Does this book cover any historical events that shape this group’s identity?

The Holocaust is one of the most horrific events in human history and undeniably affects the identity of Jewish people.  As the memory of the Holocaust becomes more distant it is important for us to remember this horrible tragedy. Especially in light of the uptick in hate crimes against Jews and Muslims. We have to remember how ignoring the small warning signs in the beginning allowed this tragedy to unfold.  It is a reminder of how you can take your safety for granted before your circumstance abruptly changes.

Does the book address the role of this cultural identity in America? How?

The book ends with Elie’s liberation from the camp so it doesn’t explore how this shapes the Jewish-American identity but this community is undeniably affected by the tragedy of the Holocaust. This book provides a window into that horrible event which provides context for current events in Israel and Jewish communities globally.

Best for readers who: are interested in learning more about the Holocaust through firsthand accounts but it is incredibly difficult to read.
What others say about this book:  Wiesel was given the Nobel Peace Prize for this book and being a “messenger to mankind” about the

 

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