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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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.
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Explanation and Analysis:
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.
Chapter 3 Quotes
Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible, even these crematories.
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.
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.
Chapter 4 Quotes
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, to strangle the doctor and the others! To burn the whole world! My father's murderers! But the cry stayed in my throat.
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.
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.
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.
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
...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)
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)
...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)
...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)