Examples Of Dehumanization In Night By Elie Wiesel

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As “humankind struggles with collective powers for its freedom, the individual struggles with dehumanization for the possession of his soul” is a quote by playwright Saul Bellow that captures the essence of Night by Elie Wiesel. Night is a narration told from the perspective of Eliezer, a Jewish teenager, during the Holocaust. This narrative describes in horrifying personal detail the dehumanization of Jews in German concentration camps during the Nazi era. The increasingly severe dehumanization of Jewish people under Adolf Hitler’s reign gained traction through three basic tactics that are illustrated in Night: 1) creating an illusion that Jews were “other” or not deserving of the same liberties as Aryans, 2) distraction through social upheaval …show more content…

Hitler’s views on race and the menace posed by the Jewish people were fanatical and pervasive. By treating people as less than human, they often begin to act less than human. An example of this can be seen in the passage in the book when Eliezer and the other villagers were first loaded into cattle cars and transported with no food, water, or room to even sit down. They were essentially being treated like animals. Eliezer describes how some of the younger prisoners began to “caress one another without any thought of others“ (Wiesel 23) and the “others pretended not to notice” (Wiesel 23). This behavior in the Jewish community where modesty and decorum were valued would normally have been viewed as outrageous and cause for chastising at least. Taken out of their normal environment and subjected to being treated like less than humans, this is evidence that the Jews were beginning to behave to be congruent with how they were treated. Another example from Night that demonstrates this treatment is seen upon the arrival of Eliezer and the others to the Auschwitz check in station. The German officer tells them that if they attempt to escape, “you will all be shot like dogs” (Wiesel 24). Later in the narrative, Eliezer describes how some prisoners who could not keep up on a march were shot like lame animals. This viewing …show more content…

This tactic began with restricting the Jewish people all into living in ghettos. Ghettos were specified sections of the town that were surrounded by barbed wire to keep the Jews in. Eliezer relates how his family was allowed to stay in their home located in a ghetto, but as it was on the corner of the ghetto to which they had been assigned, “the windows facing the street outside the ghetto had to be sealed” (Wiesel 11). In Night, Eliezer describes the Jews view of the ghettos saying, “people thought this was a good thing…we would live among Jews, among brothers…” (Wiesel 12). Eliezer relates how most of the Jewish people in his ghetto believed that they would stay there until the end of the war, relatively safe and peaceful. In a powerful foreshadowing statement, Eliezer says, “the ghetto was ruled by neither German nor Jew; it was ruled by delusion” (Wiesel 12). For after the ghettos, came the systematic relocating of the Jewish people to the concentration camps where many were murdered and those who were permitted to live for a time were subjected to the most heinous treatment of being stripped, shaved, starved, beaten, and imprisoned as slave labor. All of this took place beneath the shadow of the crematoriums chugging out foul smoke from burning flesh around the clock every day. It is often wondered how the German

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