Night

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
The narrator of Night, Eliezer is based closely on the author Elie Wiesel and his own experiences before and during the Holocaust. (Night is usually classified as a memoir.) Eliezer is a deeply religious teenager from the Hungarian town of Sighet. During his time in Nazi concentration camps, he witnesses unimaginable acts of brutality that challenge and ultimately destroy his religious faith. It becomes his duty to look after his father, Chlomo, as the older man weakens and finally dies in the camps.

Eliezer Quotes in Night

The Night quotes below are all either spoken by Eliezer or refer to Eliezer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Bantam Books edition of Night published in 1982.
Chapter 1 Quotes
I was twelve. I believed profoundly. During the day I studied the Talmud, and at night I ran to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the Temple.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

The opening of the book establishes the peaceful atmosphere of Eliezer's childhood that is about to be turned inside out. Eliezer lives with his family in a staunchly Jewish community. Faith is the guiding principle of his life – he loves God, just as everyone he knows does, and his intellectual and emotional life is structured around religion. His intellectual curiosity is channeled into the Torah and the Talmud, and he longs to study cabbala, which is known for attracting Jewish intellectuals.

As he writes in this quote, during the nights he wept over "the destruction of the temple." This shows, too, that his faith was not only intellectual – faith was something that roused his emotions in significant ways. God made him think and feel deeply. This early explanation of the importance of Eliezer's faith allows readers to understand the magnitude of the loss he feels later in the camps when he can no longer believe in God. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Night quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Night. No one prayed, so that the night would pass quickly. The stars were only sparks of the fire which devoured us. Should that fire die out one day, there would be nothing left in the sky but dead stars, dead eyes.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire, Night
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

This is an early indication of the fear that the Jews are facing as waves of deportations occur and people are reshuffled into worse and worse living quarters. Nobody knows what will happen to them and they shift between optimism and despair – this passage describes a night in which nobody hopes. At this moment, Eliezer has not yet lost his faith, but this is a sign of it waning; he and his community do not pray amid chaos because they don't want to prolong the awful night.

This passage illuminates the significance of two of the book's most prominent symbols. Here, night is seen as a time in which fear and despair dominate and faith is scant. Wiesel later described his life after the Holocaust as "one long night" – this moment, which Eliezer hopes will be temporary, is actually representative of an experience that will scar him profoundly and forever. Fire, too, is important here. While fire in religious texts is sacramental and even good, this passage shows fire as negative. To describe the fire as "consuming us" foreshadows the fires of the death camps.

Chapter 3 Quotes
Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible, even these crematories.
Related Characters: Eliezer, Chlomo
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Jews have just arrived at the concentration camp of Birkenau, and they are confronted with a scene worse than they could have imagined. They see flames everywhere, and the air smells like burning flesh. At this moment, they understand that death is surrounding them, but they still do not understand the magnitude of this depravity. Another prisoner tells Eliezer and his father that they are to be burned, and Eliezer tells him he doesn't believe it because humanity wouldn't tolerate burning someone as young as he is. The other prisoner's response is that humanity is not present there. 

It's significant that Eliezer objects to the possibility of being burned on the grounds that humanity, not God, wouldn't allow it; this is another indication that he is losing his faith. Watching the chaos around him, Eliezer seems not to assume anymore that God is a significant presence – he is more concerned with what humans will and won't do. 

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. 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. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire, Night
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

On their first night in the camp, Eliezer and his father stand before the pits of flames in which babies and children are being burned alive. Neither one of them knows yet whether they will see the morning, or whether they also will be killed before sunrise. This is the major turning point of the book, in which Eliezer witnesses a scene so unimaginable and inhuman that he can no longer assume that a good and just God is looking after him or the world. 

Eliezer describes his loss of faith as turning his life into "one long night." Considering the place faith occupied in his life before the camps, it makes sense that the loss of it would leave him bereft intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. In the camps, there is nothing to replace faith with – nothing to study, no nourishing human interactions. Eliezer's loss of faith is synonymous with his dehumanization, in which he slowly becomes only a body in search of survival. Night, then, represents in part the void of positive influences to bolster him, and the darkness of not knowing what will come. 

Fire, too, is potent in this passage, and it is clear that its significance is negative. It is the fire transfiguring babies into "wreaths of smoke" and simultaneously devouring Eliezer's faith. Fire here is the evil of the Nazis – it is what burns away what is most cherished from Eliezer. 

Some talked of God, of his mysterious ways, of the sins of the Jewish people, and of their future deliverance. But I had ceased to pray. How I sympathized with Job! I did not deny God's existence, but I doubted his absolute justice.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

Eliezer clarifies here his statement about his faith being consumed by the flames. This does not yet signify his utter loss of faith – he still believes that God exists. However, his views about the nature of God have dramatically shifted in that he does not assume that God is good or just anymore. He cannot trust God to protect him, and he does not believe, like some others, that the experiences in the camps could be God testing the Jews before their eventual deliverance.

Put another way, even though Eliezer still believes there is a God, God is no longer a relevant force in his life, which is tantamount to loss of faith. God is not somebody to whom he can appeal or in whom he can place his trust. It's significant that this occurs after just one night in the camps. That someone with faith as profound as Eliezer's at the beginning of the book can be disillusioned so quickly indicates the magnitude of Nazi atrocity. Wiesel invites us to consider how much evil it would take to reverse someone's faith in only one night.

Chapter 4 Quotes
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
"Where is God now?"
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
"Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows. . . . "
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Eliezer and the other prisoners are required to witness public executions of Jews who have disobeyed the Nazis. This is a cruel and inhuman tactic that the Nazis used to instil fear and discipline in the Jewish prisoners. While Eliezer witnessed many public executions, the most memorable one was the execution of a young boy. When another prisoner asks "Where is God now?" in the face of this spectacle, Eliezer realizes that he has entirely lost his faith. Not only does he not believe in the goodness of God, he no longer believes in God's existence at all.

Throughout the book, it is witnessing acts of inhumanity towards children that most affects Eliezer. Eliezer grew up expecting to be protected by his father and by his family; his community respected children, and it was a given for him that he would be safe because others were watching. It is witnessing the Nazi disregard for the dignity and vulnerability of children that most terrifies Eliezer, because it signifies a breakdown of the most fundamental social order, and it drives home Eliezer's own vulnerability and isolation. The execution of the young boy by the Nazis is, to Eliezer, something that could only happen in a world with no God. 

Chapter 5 Quotes
"Yes, man is very strong, greater than God. When You were deceived by Adam and Eve, You drove them out of Paradise. When Noah's generation displeased You, You brought down the Flood… But these men here, whom You have betrayed, whom You have allowed to be tortured, slaughtered, gassed, burned, what do they do? They pray before You! They praise your name!"
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

On Rosh Hashana, Eliezer gathers with other Jews for a prayer. Eliezer, who has lost his faith, is unable to pray. Instead, he accuses God of powerlessness and cruelty. He points out a litany of punishments that the Bible recounts God having brought down on sinners, and then he invokes the seemingly innocent and helpless Jews in the camps who are subject to inhuman horrors. Eliezer points out the absurdity of all these Jews gathering to pray to a God who seems indifferent to their suffering. He even proclaims man to be greater than God, in that these Jews are showing more forgiveness and compassion for God than God seems to show for them.

While Eliezer has certainly lost his faith by this point, it is significant that he still has internal conversations with God and still tries to reason with the logic of faith. This doesn't necessarily indicate an ambivalence about his loss of faith – rather, it shows that faith had been previously so central to the way he saw the world that, in its absence, he still can't escape its logic. 

That day I had ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were open and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God and without man. Without love or mercy. I had ceased to be anything but ashes, yet I felt myself to be stronger than the Almighty, to whom my life had been tied for so long. I stood amid that praying congregation, observing it like a stranger.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Oddly, this moment of reckoning with his loss of faith seems to bolster Eliezer. Instead of allowing himself to hope that someone else will save him, this is a moment of Eliezer embracing that he is strong and capable and self-reliant without his faith. On the one hand, he frames this realization as resulting from his anger at God ("I was the accuser, God the accused") and on the other hand, he frames it as utter loss of faith ("I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God").

Regardless, this shows that Eliezer's experiences of horror and inhumanity have led him not only to lose his faith that was once so important, but also to repudiate it as a source of weakness. This passage is not entirely empowering, though – Eliezer describes himself as having "ceased to be anything but ashes." Despite feeling strong, the description of himself as being only ashes gestures towards his difficulty finding anything human within himself without his faith. 

Chapter 6 Quotes
Pitch darkness. Every now and then, an explosion in the night. They had orders to fire on any who could not keep up. Their fingers on the triggers, they did not deprive themselves of this pleasure. If one of us stopped for a second, a sharp shot finished off another filthy son of a bitch.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Night
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

In the hospital, Eliezer and his father couldn't decide whether to evacuate the camp with the rest of the prisoners, or remain in the hospital and take the risk that the Nazis might kill all the prisoners that stay. They chose to evacuate, despite his father's poor health and Eliezer's hurt foot. This choice leads them to experience one of their worst nights during the Holocaust, in which the prisoners are led on a more than forty mile death march through the snow. The marching prisoners are cold and starving, but if they slow for even a moment they are either shot by a Nazi or trampled by the prisoners behind them.

These conditions of fear and struggle for life itself invite cruelty, doubt, and despair. One man loses his father on purpose to increase his own odds for survival. Eliezer, whose father is deeply important to him, understands the man's choice nonetheless–the realization that he might be capable of a similar cruelty to his own father makes Eliezer realize the depth of the inhumanity to which he has succumbed, and to which all people can succumb. A big part of the permanent "night" that Eliezer experiences after the war is founded in this realization. 

We were masters of nature, masters of the world. We had forgotten everything—death, fatigue, our natural needs. Stronger than cold or hunger, stronger than the shots and the desire to die, condemned and wandering, mere numbers, we were the only men on earth.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, like the one in which Eliezer rejects the Rosh Hashana prayer, Wiesel frames absence of faith as a strength, in that it allows him to focus on the concrete concerns of how to keep himself alive. This passage comes in a moment when Eliezer is performing an inhuman feat– starving, injured, and sleep deprived he is moving quickly for hours and hours through the snow under threat of death. Instead of feeling that he isn't up to the task, Eliezer is so dehumanized – so disconnected from his body and self – that he doesn't feel daunted by what he's up against.

There's a religious undertone to this passage, despite the fact that faith seems irrelevant to what Wiesel describes. The first sentence seems to imply that humans have replaced God as the most powerful forces on earth. This seems of a piece with Eliezer's loss of faith, which occurred because humans were able to commit unthinkable atrocities that God did not prevent. However, his description of the Jews as "condemned and wandering" is a subtle Biblical allusion to the historical sufferings of the Jewish people. Throughout the book, though Wiesel proclaims to have lost his faith, he still understands the world through the lens of Judaism.

He played a fragment from Beethoven's concerto. I had never heard sounds so pure. In such silence.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker), Juliek
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout Night, Wiesel gives us images that seem to promise some kind of redemption (however small) and then ultimately succumb to brutality. This is one of those. The prisoners have finished the death march and are allowed to get some rest. Juliek and his violin have been spared against all odds, and he plays a bit of Beethoven while people are trying to sleep. This is a moment of beauty in which the Jews are reclaiming something beautiful in the face of one of the worst nights of suffering imaginable.

However, when Eliezer wakes up, Juliek is dead and his violin is crushed. This horrific outcome to a moment of beauty gives the sense of the relentlessness of the brutality of the Holocaust and the futility of hope for redemption. Eliezer and his father have survived the death march, an improbable feat. However, the death of Juliek, an embodiment of beauty, is a reminder that even this most recent improbable survival guarantees nothing. 

Chapter 7 Quotes
Twenty bodies were thrown out of our wagon. Then the train resumed its journey, leaving behind it a few hundred naked dead, deprived of burial, in the deep snow of a field in Poland.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, the Jews are thrown into a cattle car yet again to be brought to another camp. Unlike the first journey, they are now weak and dehumanized. There is barely any distinction between the many in the car who are dead and those who are alive. Throughout the book, Eliezer's sensitivity to death has diminished. While he once felt horrified by the Nazi spectacles of death, he is no longer surprised or moved by death in circumstances of cruelty. This is apparent in his off-hand description of twenty bodies being thrown from the train into the snow. This passage gives a sense of hopelessness, and of how far from their original values the prisoners have come. They barely try to discern who is and isn't dead before taking people's clothes and throwing them from the train. While a Jewish death without a proper burial would have once been unimaginable, at this point it is barely remarked on.

We were given no food. We lived on snow; it took the place of bread. The days were like nights, and the nights left the dregs of their darkness in our souls.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Night
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Here, Wiesel describes the days-long train journey in which the Jews are crowded onto a cattle car and not fed. This is not even how someone would treat livestock – concern for humanity is completely irrelevant here. The Jews in the cattle cars survive solely by eating snow, and witness incredible cruelty. People outside the train amuse themselves by throwing in bits of bread and watching the prisoners fight to the death over the scraps, including one man who kills his own father and then is killed himself before he gets to eat.

Without even the escape of work or the minimal personal space of the camps, the prisoners descend into a new kind of despair that Wiesel elucidates, again, with the metaphor of night. Daylight is no longer a reprieve, and night is unbearable. It's important to note the "their" in the line, "nights left the dregs of their darkness in our souls." Wiesel is acknowledging the complexity of the cruelty between prisoners. He describes this as Nazi darkness that is infecting Jewish souls – it is Nazi cruelty that created the conditions for Jewish cruelty. Even while the behavior of the prisoners demoralizes him, Eliezer still recognizes that this behavior has been, in some sense, externally imposed. 

Hundreds of cries rose up simultaneously. Not knowing against whom we cried. Not knowing why. The death rattle of a whole convoy who felt the end upon them. We were all going to die here. All limits had been passed. No one had any strength left. And again the night would be long.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage occurs while Meir Katz, one of the strongest men left, is losing his will to live. It is startling for Eliezer to see this last bulwark of a man lose his strength, and this loss seems to be echoed everywhere as people in the cars wail desperately and their cries create a cascade of wailing across the train cars. This is a moment in which Eliezer sees everyone around him losing strength and he himself feels vulnerable – Meir Katz has just saved him from strangulation, and he feels that nobody has any energy left to go on. He is facing down death here as the only option left. There is nowhere to flee, and there is no concrete force he is up against except for his own fatigue. The hopelessness of this passage is cemented by the fact that Wiesel, at the end of it, invokes the difficulty of the coming night that nobody feels that they are prepared for.

The last day had been the most murderous. A hundred of us had got into the wagon. A dozen of us got out—among them, my father and I.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker), Chlomo
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout Night, the attrition of human lives has been startling. Wiesel describes, over and over, the numbers of people who did not survive each step of their journey. This last day of the train trip had abysmally low survival rates, but somehow – against all odds – Eliezer and his father are still alive when they reach their destination.

The bond between Eliezer and his father is one of the only human elements that remains as the book gets darker and more desperate, and we get the sense that, even while their commitment to one another slows them down and forces them into risky situations, the love between Eliezer and his father is one of the only things keeping them alive. The importance of this love is emphasized by Meir Katz's decision to stay with the dead on the train (which essentially amounts to suicide). Despite the fact that Katz is one of the strongest men, his grief for his dead son makes him unable to continue.

Chapter 8 Quotes
"Don't let me find him! If only I could get rid of this dead weight, so that I could use all my strength to struggle for my own survival, and only worry about myself." Immediately I felt ashamed of myself, ashamed forever.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker), Chlomo
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

After everything Eliezer and his father have been through, Eliezer still feels impulses to abandon his father to increase his own odds of survival. This moral conflict is at the heart of the book, and despite Eliezer's shame at his own feelings, his ability to feel conflicted at all about his father indicates that he still has some humanity left.

While Eliezer is never outright cruel to his father like some sons are in the camps, he often feels that his inaction in the face of others' cruelty to his father and his secret desires to be rid of his father are just as bad. It's a conflict that the book never resolves. While Eliezer's inaction and secret feelings are understandable in the face of the incredible risks and sacrifices that protecting his father would entail, Wiesel never allows himself to fully justify his actions. He holds himself accountable to what he sees as his own moral failings, even though those failings were provoked by unimaginable cruelty towards him.

Oh, to strangle the doctor and the others! To burn the whole world! My father's murderers! But the cry stayed in my throat.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker), Dr. Mengele
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Eliezer's father is very sick with dysentery and it's likely that he won't survive. The doctors refuse to give sick people food and won't treat his father, which inspires in Eliezer a murderous rage that, of course, he never acts on. This is one of the rare moments in the book when Eliezer expresses a fantasy that seems to echo Nazi behavior – he wants "to burn the whole world," which is what, it must have seemed to him, the Nazis were doing.

It's important that what brings these feelings out in him is witnessing cruelty towards his father, not cruelty directed towards Eliezer himself. This is another example of the importance of his relationship with his father. In a sense, his father has replaced religion as the emotional locus of his life; his father is essentially the only thing left that can provoke an emotional reaction in Eliezer. Still, this rage does not inspire Eliezer to actually act on his fantasies of avenging the Nazi cruelty, and so it forces Eliezer also to face his inability to defend his father.

Bending over him, I stayed gazing at him for over an hour, engraving into myself the picture of his blood-stained face, his shattered skull.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker), Chlomo
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

Eliezer's father is near death here after one of the guards hit him on the head with a truncheon simply because he wouldn't stop asking for water. Eliezer knows there is nothing he can do to save his father's life at this point, so he tries to memorize his father's face, not neglecting the blood, broken skull, and suffering. While Wiesel does not elaborate on the meaning or purpose of this act, we get the sense that this is, however private and silent, a way of honoring his father. Death has lost almost all meaning to Eliezer (he forgets to pray for a dead friend, he barely notices that so many Jews are going without proper burial) but with his father's death, he clearly feels that he needs to bear witness to his father's suffering.

Even if he can't draw meaning from from his father's death now, Eliezer seems to want to cement his father's face in his memory so that he might be able to draw meaning from it later. This is a quiet act of humanity in the face of incredible cruelty, and it shows both how important Eliezer's father was to him, and also how little capacity for emotion he has left.

Chapter 9 Quotes
Our first act as free men was to throw ourselves onto the provisions. We thought only of that. Not of revenge, not of our families. Nothing but bread.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Eliezer has been at Buchenwald for a few months, and, without his father, has had barely any will to live. When Buchenwald is liberated, the Jews are at the end of many, many months of physical exhaustion and have have witnessed unimaginable suffering and cruelty – as an indication of the inhumanity they have been reduced to, Wiesel notes that, once liberated, they only thought of food. All human concerns had become secondary to basic bodily needs, and they gorged themselves on bread rather than contemplating the meaning of their freedom, or fantasizing about revenge, or considering the families they lost or the ones that they might now be able to reunite with. Just as it took time for them to become dehumanized in the camps, the process of returning to the world of human concerns also takes time. The impact of the Nazis, in fact, would last a lifetime – Eliezer was never able to return to the values, interests, and joy he once took for granted. 

One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Eliezer sees himself for the first time since he left home for the camps. The time in between has brought emotional and physical torture – starvation, the death march, beatings, and very little healthcare, among other cruelties. When Eliezer looks in the mirror, he sees a corpse – not even a person, but a dead body.

By this description  he invokes the physical toll that the Holocaust has taken on his body (emaciated as he was, his face must have seemed little more than a skull), and also the spiritual toll. When he looked at himself, he no longer recognized himself as human. By this point he had lost his faith in God and his faith in humanity, and he couldn't even take refuge in his own honorable behavior due to his guilt over his passivity in protecting his father. Wiesel was so emotionally and physically degraded that, when he looked in the mirror, he did not identify himself as human. This is the ultimate testament to the Nazi horrors that he experienced. 

Get the entire Night LitChart as a printable PDF.
Night.pdf.medium

Eliezer Character Timeline in Night

The timeline below shows where the character Eliezer appears in Night. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Eliezer is twelve in 1941. He lives in a town called Sighet, in territory then controlled... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...the town. Poor and physically awkward, he has a dreamlike and spiritual quality about him. Eliezer and he discuss religion and begin to study cabbala together. Soon, though, all of the... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
The people of Sighet do not believe Moché's story. Even Eliezer does not believe him, although he notices that Moché has changed, and no longer speaks... (full context)
...encouraged by radio reports of the bombardment of Germany and the progress of the war. Eliezer continues his religious studies and the family thinks about Hilda's marriage prospects. (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...in 1944, although the Jews in Sighet still doubt that Hitler wants to exterminate them. Eliezer wants his father to sell the business and move to Palestine but his father says... (full context)
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...houses of local citizens—sometimes Jews. One officer stays in a house across the street from Eliezer's. The soldiers are polite, and the Jews hope things will be fine. They keep a... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Jews are forced to move into one of two ghettoes in Sighet. Eliezer's house is already in one of the designated areas, so his family doesn't have to... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
One night, Eliezer's father is hurriedly summoned to a meeting of the Jewish council. Neighbors gather at the... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Eliezer watches the people of his town—friends, teachers, the rabbi—pass by with a small bundle of... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Eliezer's family isn't part of the first deportation. Instead they are going to be sent to... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...servant comes to see them and begs them to come to her village and hide. Eliezer's father says that Eliezer and his two older sisters can go if they want to,... (full context)
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
That night, according to Eliezer, no one prays. The next day, people try to feel hopeful. They suggest that they... (full context)
Chapter 3
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...they are surrounded by the SS with machine guns. Men are separated from the women. Eliezer watches his sisters and his mother move away. He sees his mother and his youngest... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
The SS order them into groups. Eliezer manages to stay with his father. One veteran prisoner tells him to say that he... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...them questions, and then pointing to the right or to the left with his baton. Eliezer lies and says he is eighteen and a farmer. Dr. Mengele gestures to the left,... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
They are marched towards a ditch from which Eliezer sees flames leaping up. He watches a truck pull up to the ditch and sees... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
Eliezer tells his father he will run towards the electric fence instead of dying in the... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...the new arrivals are beaten by veteran prisoners. The SS officers look for strong men (Eliezer and his father decide not to draw attention to themselves). Next, the new arrivals are... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
Certain skilled workers are weeded out and the rest are sent to another barracks. Eliezer's father asks the gypsy deportee in charge of the barracks if he can use the... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Under SS guard, Eliezer, his father, and their group of prisoners are marched out of Birkenau to another camp:... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
The next day the prisoners are tattooed on their left arms. Eliezer becomes A-7713. In the evening, tens of thousands of prisoners stand for roll call as... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
A relative—Eliezer's great-uncle from Antwerp—finds Eliezer's father and asks if anyone has heard news of his wife... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...Auschwitz. The relative from Antwerp visits and brings half a ration of bread. He advises Eliezer's father to take care of his son. Then a new transport comes from Antwerp, presumably... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...listen to a man named Akiba Drumer sing religious songs. Some people talk about God. Eliezer no longer prays, is no longer sure that God is just. His thoughts turn to... (full context)
Chapter 4
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...that food be brought to the ten and twelve-year-old prisoners. The German in charge of Eliezer's tent also takes a special interest in the welfare of the children, although his interest... (full context)
One of his assistants in charge of the tent tries to get Eliezer's shoes in exchange for a good work unit assignment and keeping Eliezer and his father... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...quarantine, with medical and dental inspection. Then the Kapos arrive and select their work units. Eliezer's unit is joined by prisoners from a musicians' unit, including Juliek, a violinist. They are... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Inhumanity Theme Icon
In the warehouse there are also Poles and French women. Franek, the foreman, lets Eliezer work next to his father. Eliezer befriends two Czech brothers, Yossi and Tibi, whose parents... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Eliezer is ordered to go to the dentist to have his gold crown removed. Eliezer fakes... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
At the warehouse Eliezer works near a French girl. They don't speak to each other, and Eliezer presumes they... (full context)
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
Years later, after the war, Eliezer sees a beautiful woman on the Metro in Paris. They recognize each other from the... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
On another occasion, Eliezer can only watch as Idek beats his father with an iron bar. Eliezer's instinct is... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
The foreman, Franek, demands the gold crown in Eliezer's mouth. Eliezer refuses. But his father isn't good at marching, so Franek starts to beat... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...brings the entire unit to the warehouse even though there is no work that day. Eliezer wanders around and accidentally sees Idek having sex with a Polish girl. Later, Idek gives... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...chair is pulled away and he dies. The prisoners think about their delayed supper, and Eliezer later enjoys his soup. (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Although he is forced to watch other hangings, one in particular stays in Eliezer's mind. The young assistant of a Kapo is arrested along with the Kapo and two... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Inhumanity Theme Icon
A man in the crowd behind Eliezer asks, "Where is God now?" The three are hanged, and the prisoners are forced to... (full context)
Chapter 5
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
...of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) the Jews in Buna gather for a prayer. Eliezer, who once lived for prayer and religious study, rebels against this. He feels that humans... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Eliezer shares a silent, powerful moment of sadness and understanding with his father. For Yom Kippur,... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...number of one of them. A few of the feebler ones are written down, but Eliezer is not. However, no one is immediately taken away. (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...of the block reads off the numbers of those who have been selected to die. Eliezer's father is among them, as is Akiba Drumer, the singer. His father hurriedly gives Eliezer... (full context)
...to know what it is to be cold. Christmas and New Year's pass. In January, Eliezer's foot swells. He goes to see a doctor—a Jew and a fellow prisoner. The doctor... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
The surgery is successful, and two days later Eliezer hears a rumor that the Red Army is only hours away and that the camp... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
After the war, Eliezer learns that those who stayed in the hospital were liberated by the Russian Army two... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Eliezer spends the night back in his block. The prisoners are given bread and margarine for... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...snow falling heavily, the prisoners march out of the camp block by block. At last, Eliezer's block—Block 57—marches out into the darkness. (full context)
Chapter 6
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Eliezer tries not to think, tries to keep himself moving mindlessly forward. A Polish youth who'd... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Each step with Eliezer's injured foot hurts him terribly. His father, running beside him, keeps him going. It's impossible... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...They pass through a deserted village and finally are allowed to rest in the snow. Eliezer follows his father into a half-collapsed shed. People are sleeping and those sleeping begin to... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...son on the road, when the rabbi had fallen behind and his son didn't notice. Eliezer says he hasn't seen the rabbi's son. (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Eliezer then remembers that he has seen the son deliberately abandon his father the rabbi. The... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...barracks, where they collapse, treading on and crushing each other. Below him in the pile, Eliezer hears the voice of Juliek, the violinist from Buna, crying for mercy. Juliek is worried... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...they hear the sound of a violin. Someone is playing part of a Beethoven concerto. Eliezer believes it is Juliek, who must somehow have managed to free himself from underneath the... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
The next morning, Eliezer sees Juliek near him, dead, his violin trampled. (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...On the third day the weak are divided from those who can still walk okay. Eliezer's father is selected for the weak. Eliezer runs after him, the SS grab Eliezer, and... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Eliezer's group is marched out of the camp to a railway, herded onto a long train... (full context)
Chapter 7
Inhumanity Theme Icon
The train goes on through the night. When light comes, Eliezer is unable to tell who is alive and who is dead in the car, including... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...take their clothes and push them out. When two men try to take his father, Eliezer snaps out of his daze and slaps his father until his father's eyelids begin to... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...observe the starving prisoners fight for them. When a piece is dropped in his car Eliezer doesn't fight for it, but sees a younger man beat up his own father for... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
A man named Meir Katz saves Eliezer's life when someone tries to strangle him. One of the most vigorous men left, Meir... (full context)
Chapter 8
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
At Buchenwald, Eliezer tries to stay close to his father. Waiting for the showers, people sit and lie... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
Sirens go off and the guards move the prisoners to the blocks. They sleep. When Eliezer wakes, he realizes he went into the blocks without his father. For a moment he... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
Eliezer spends hours looking for his father and finally finds him, sick with fever. His father... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
Another doctor comes, but this one shouts at the sick and calls them lazy. Eliezer feels the desire to kill this doctor, but has neither the strength or the courage... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
A week goes by. The head of the block advises Eliezer not to give his rations to his father. The man tells Eliezer that he can't... (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...at him to be quiet. The officer hits him on the head with a truncheon. Eliezer does not move. His father says his name, "Eliezer," and begins to have trouble breathing.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Eliezer spends another two and a half months at Buchenwald. He is transferred to the children's... (full context)
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Inhumanity Theme Icon
At first, after the liberation, Eliezer thinks only of eating. Three days later he gets food poisoning and nearly dies. He... (full context)