The Role Of Execution In Elie Wiesel's Night

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Night by Elie Wiesel describes his experiences as a Jew in the concentration camps during World War II. During this time, Wiesel witnessed many horrific acts. Two of these were executions. Though the processes of the executions were similar, the condemned and the Jews’ reactions to the execution were different. One execution was the single hanging of a strong giant youth from Warsaw. The Nazis condemned him to death because he had stolen “during the alert” (Wiesel 59). The youth did not seem to be afraid and cursed Germany to the point of his immediate death caused by the snapping of his neck. Wiesel writes “I remember that I found the soup excellent that evening” (60). How could soup taste good after watching someone die? The prisoners had seen and experienced so much brutality, endured repeated beatings, and humiliated beyond imagination, so one more death did not affect them. Their emotions hardened to the point of being non-existent… or so they thought. Although the prisoners seemed hardened and unaffected by death, a different hanging did deeply affect them. In this hanging, three individuals are condemned to die, one of them was a young child with “the face of a sad angel,” for sabotaging an electric power station (Wiesel 60). The…show more content…
It was a new low for the German soldiers to kill a child, and it was this execution that made many of the Jews’ question the presence of God. Wiesel says, “That night, the soup tasted of corpses” (62). They felt remorse at the hanging of the pipel because he had been kind to them and was “loved by all” (Wiesel 60). So even though the prisoners had to watch similar hangings in Wiesel’s Night, they were affected differently by them. Their reactions were a direct result of the difference between the two that were condemned to die. One showed kindness to them while the other was just a thief being executed as an example. Through these executions, emotions hardened, and God’s presence was
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