Examples Of Dehumanization In Night By Lie Wiesel

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If you were to ask someone what the first number that comes to their head is when you say “Holocaust”, they would probably tell you 6 million, for the thousands of thousands of Jews killed. Maybe they say 11 million to include the 5 million people whose lives were also deemed worthless. Both of these are shocking numbers, but they don’t come about by accident. There is no butterfly effect or mishap that kills 11 million people, it is overwhelmingly intentional. The cornerstone strategy that allowed the Nazi party to carry out the largest genocide in human history was dehumanization. No German citizen, and not even Adolf Hitler, would support the large-scale, systematic murder of people they thought to be equal. The thorough dehumanization …show more content…

lie Wiesel’s experiences of dehumanization in the Nazi concentration camps extraordinarily influence his behavior and identity. During his time in the camps, Elie demonstrated extreme behavioral adaptations to survive the treatment; these were made possible by the erasing of his identity. Elie’s identity is established in the opening pages of the book. Elie is characterized as a deeply religious and intelligent person. His religion is more important to him than most, however, as he wants to study Kabbalah. As the German invasion looms closer, Elie remains focused on his studies, devoted fully to his faith. In the camps, Elie’s faith is immediately tested. As death seemed imminent Elie first began to question God, saying “Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?” (33). The design of the camps intentionally tested faith, forcing the Jewish prisoners to confront the dead and dying at all times. By straining this part of Elie’s identity, the process of dehumanization began. Later in the camps, Elie’s belongings, clothes, and hair are removed. In return he receives a number and a camp uniform. He has now lost his external identity, proceeding more …show more content…

Elie and his father were luckier than most, as they could stay together throughout the selection process. This became pivotal in helping Elie keep his humanity, but even that would begin to drift away. Slowly, Elie and his father grew apart. Here, his behavior began to change substantially. The first incident happened shortly after their arrival at the camp. Having been freshly dehumanized, a guard hit Elie’s father. What normally would have prompted a violent response from Elie to defend his family evoked nothing. Elie’s attachment to his father meant nothing in the face of dehumanization and deindividuation. This estrangement grows greater as they spend more time subjected the abuse of the camps. As his father gets beat while working in the camps, Elie remembers that “what's more, if I felt anger at that moment, it was not directed at the Kapo but at my father;” Elie asks “Why couldn't he have avoided Idek's wrath? That was what life in a concentration camp had made of me..." (54). Not only being complacent but also blaming his father for getting beaten by the Kapo is demonstrative of the influence of the Nazi’s dehumanization on Elie’s

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