Night

Themes and Colors
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Night, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Inhumanity Theme Icon

One of the legacies of the Holocaust is the sheer scale of one group of people's inhumanity towards other groups of people. In the case of the Jews, the German government and German society attempted to redefine them as sub-human, and then as creatures who deserved to die.

But Night doesn't just focus on the Nazis and their seemingly endless diabolical behavior (concentration camp doctors—those who swear an oath to do no harm—are some of the worst offenders imaginable). The book also looks at what it is like for an adolescent to live in a situation where he and those around him are no longer treated as humans. The loss of humanity among the victims leads to all kinds of cruelty and callousness among the prisoners as they struggle to survive—prisoners are vicious towards each other, those with small powers abuse them, children abandon parents, starving people kill each other for scraps of food. In the cattle car on the way to Auschwitz, people strike a woman to keep her quiet, something they never would have done in the village. As Eliezer's father lies in his sickbed, near death, other invalids beat him up because he smells bad. Through Night, Elie Wiesel makes the point that when people are treated as subhuman and are subjected to the constant threat of death, they may lose the ability to act like a decent person—even towards others in the same situation. Empathy is one of the finest human qualities, but it can be crushed.

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Inhumanity ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Inhumanity appears in each chapter of Night. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Inhumanity Quotes in Night

Below you will find the important quotes in Night related to the theme of Inhumanity.
Chapter 1 Quotes
"I have been saved miraculously. I managed to get back here. Where did I get the strength from? I wanted to come back to Sighet to tell you the story of my death. So what you could prepare yourselves while there was still time… I wanted to come back, and to warn you. And see how it is, no one will listen to me…"
Related Characters: Moché the Beadle (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Chapter 2 Quotes
"Fire! I can see a fire! I can see a fire!"
Related Characters: Madame Schachter (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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That night the soup tasted of corpses.
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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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:

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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:

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"I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people. "
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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