Night By: Teagan PHillips

Imagine having to watch your family suffer and die. Imagine a life where you're being yelled at or beaten 24/7. Imagine having to fight through death alone. That is how it was for the Jews in the time of the Holocaust. In the book Night by Elie Wiesel all of these things come out. It is the story of how Eliezer got ripped out of his home with the rest of his family and had to run to a concentration camp where he was split from everyone in his family with the exception of his father. His father had a rough journey because he was getting older. Not only did Eliezer have to watch his father struggling while not able to help, he also had to watch other people from his camp be beaten to death. He was moved from place to place and didn’t know exactly where he would be sleeping the next night. In addition to learning what concentration camps are, I also learned how they were treated in the camps and how life was after the Holocaust.

Concentration camps were a very popular thing in between the years 1933 and 1945. www.ushmm.org said these 40,000 camps were used for a variety of different things such as forced labor, people thought to be the enemies of the state and mass murder. Though all of these camps were open and used, forced labor camps were used the most and that's what Eliezer and his family were put in simply because they were Jewish. In the forced labor camps, thousands of the prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation and exposure. A real good example for this would be Eliezer's experience because he and his father had to watch these thousands of people die but it really got bad for Eliezer when one in particular died…his father. These camps were guarded all the time by SS units which means there was close to no chance of escaping these. In Auschwitz, the camp that the family in Night was in, they had 1,095,000 Jews deported into it and they had killed off 960,000 of them. In total out of all people in Auschwitz 1.3 million were deported and 1.1 million of them died according to www.ushmm.org. The camp, Auschwitz, consisted of three camps and was the largest of its kind, made by the Nazis. Auschwitz 1 was the main camp where they used prisoners for forced labor, in fact they had 40 kilometers of accessible land that was there for the people in the camp to work on and to make the camp bigger. Camp 1 was specifically built for three reasons; to lock up enemies, forced labor and to kill small groups of people. Auschwitz 2 had the largest total prisoner population and had to be separated into ten sections which were divided up by electrical barbed wire. Out of all the people in Auschwitz, 90% of people died in Auschwitz 2 and nine out of ten of those people were Jewish.

The lives of the Jews were the least valuable and they were treated very harshly. A few things that www.topsecretwriters.com said they victims suffered through was starvation, cold weather, hard labor, harassment, abuse and killing procedures. All people in these camps were torn apart from their family and were put into a different camp than them. If they wanted to communicate with the other people from their family, they didn’t dare to try to write a letter because that was forbidden so there was no actual way to communicate with anyone outside of your camp. Prisoners had to wear color coded triangles on their uniforms and letters underneath the triangle, representing where they were from, to be identified anytime they were gathered up to be counted. Thousands of people were killed for no reason. The Nazi reasoning behind some of the people they killed was because they were Jewish, Communists or homosexual therefor all of those people were shot for their sexuality or race. They had the capacity to murder 20,000 people per day. There was a variety of races at these camps and another one who was treated very unfairly was the Roma. Almost all Roma were gassed, worked to death or died from disease. When they Gypsy Camp closed for them, the remaining men, women and children were placed into a gas chamber until they reached death. The website http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2012/06/10-of-the-worst-nazi-concentration-camps/ states that the camp that Eliezer and his father were in was ranked number one worst camp to be in, Auschwitz. Auschwitz had three camps to it, the first one was the forced labor camp where the people with high status got the easier and more desirable jobs such as indoor jobs and with low status you had the hard working or demanding jobs such as mining and construction. After you were on the verge of death from exhaustion, starvation, abuse, etc. you would be placed into Auschwitz’ second camp which was basically the death camp. When you died in that camp, they would take you to the third and final camp which was the crematorium.

The last concentration camp was closed in 1945. Although, even though the camps were closed people were still dying for several weeks after that. The reason for this is because of how poorly and harshly they were treated in the camps. These prisoners were weak and had been being beaten for a very long time that their body could no longer take it. In fact, over half of the deaths that occurred in the camps happened in the last year of war because their bodies were so weak they decided to give up instead of suffering though more days of life. After the Holocaust, the majority had no family left and although of course they were happy that they were free, they felt alone and empty because they had no more loved ones to share the feeling of happiness with. Another reason they still weren't as happy as everyone would think they were is because it is kind of hard to be happy about finishing a chapter of your life where you had to see all of your family die and leave them behind. Lots of the remaining survivors immigrated to the United States. It is estimated that over 80,000 people immigrated to the US in between the years 1945 and 1952. Although these people have gone through a very disturbing and cruel life, the majority of them are still living their lives happily. Most are getting through life mentally very well right now and almost every single one of them that goes back is just amazed that they lived through all of that torture.Thomas Buergenthal says on an interview with the United States Holocaust Memorial-, “I made it, its so hard to believe”

When Eliezer was torn apart from his family after being told they would all stay together, he had to become the man of the family as his dad was getting older and couldn’t hold for himself anymore. Throughout the time that the family was taken away they all learned what concentration camps are and how terribly they treat you there and unfortunately, Eliezer was the only one to see what life after the Holocaust really was like as the rest of the family died from the way they were being treated in the concentration camps. All of this was being learned at the same time as they were forced to watch multiple men and women die every day and it started to seem like the men that Eliezer was with were filled with less hope each day.

Works Cited

"Auschwitz." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005189>.

"Concentration Camps, 1942–1945." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005475>.

"Daily Life in the Concentration Camps." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/research/research-in-collections/search-the-collections/bibliography/daily-life-in-the-concentration-camps>.

"Life After the Holocaust: Thomas Buergenthal." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007192>.

"Nazi Camps." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005144>.

"Prisoners of the Camps." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007754>.

"10 of the Worst Nazi Concentration Camps." Top Secret Writers. N.p., 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2017. <http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2012/06/10-of-the-worst-nazi-concentration-camps/>.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/mobile/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007387>.

Www.auschwitz.org. "AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU." Polski. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2017. <http://auschwitz.org/en/history/auschwitz-ii/the-organizational-structure>.

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