Pictured on the left is Elie Wiesel's mother, Sarah Feig-Wiesel and pictured on the left is Wiesel's father, Shlomo Wiesel.
Elie Wiesel's Family
"Men to the left! Women to the right!"
Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight simple, short words. Yet that was the moment when I left my mother. There was no time to think, and I already I felt my father's hand press against mine: we were alone. In a fraction of a second I could see my mother, my sisters, move to the right. Tzipora was holding Mother's hand. I saw them walking farther and farther away; Mother was stroking my sister's blond hair, as if to protect her. And I walked on with my father, with the men. I didn’t know that this was the moment in time and the place where I was leaving my mother and Tzipora forever. I kept walking, my father holding my hand.
My hand tightened its grip on my father. All I could think of was not to lose him. Not to remain alone.
[…] It was imperative to stay together. (Night, Chapter 3: pages 4-10)
Within Elie Wiesel's book Night he states an event upon arrival to Auschwitz-Birkenau which describes his initial knowledge of burning bodies at the death camp.
"Shut up, you moron, or I’ll tear you to pieces! You should have hanged yourselves rather than come here. Didn’t you know what was in store for you here in Auschwitz? You didn’t know? In 1944?"
True. We didn’t know. Nobody had told us. He couldn’t believe his ears. His tone became even harsher:
"Over there. Do you see the chimney over there? Do you see it? And the flames, do you see them?" (Yes, we saw the flames.) "Over there, that’s where they will take you. Over there will be your grave. You still don’t understand? You sons of bitches. Don’t you understand anything? You will be burned! Burned into a cinder! Turned to ashes!" (Night, Chapter 3: pages 25-27).
Within a gas chamber where millions of mothers, fathers, big and little brothers and sisters. There were uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, foes, neighbors. Professionals such as teachers, doctors, business men and women were not excluded. Husbands, wives, homosexuals, gypsies, people of the Jewish faith, people of the Jehovah Witness faith and people of the Roman Catholic faith all perished. Everyone that was Pole, Romani, some Russians and Ukrainians, Non-European and those with disabilities all suffered a inhumane death. They died being told they are not special, not worthy, useless and the problem within the world.
After the Holocaust, data of deaths was uncovered many years later.
The data collected after years of research about the Holocaust uncovers the magnitude of deaths that occurred. The data image entitled "Worst Atrocities on Record" compares the deaths of World War II which includes the Holocaust with events such as World War I, The 30 Years War and the Chinese Civil War. World War II had the most deaths at approximately 70 million people perished. The data circle entitled "Holocaust Deaths" reveals deeper statistics specifically for the people that were exterminated. It is evident through this data that Jews were not the only ones that suffered Nazi Germany's death camps.
What happened to Elie Wiesel after the Holocaust?
After the Holocaust Elie Wiesel decided to go to France where he became a writer and discovered about himself that his Holocaust experience has become a part of him and his daily life. As a form of therapy Wiesel would write about how he felt and what he saw at Auschwitz. He wrote until he had an idea to publish what he wrote in order to educate others about what has happened. At first no one believe Wiesel and he received criticism from Holocaust deniers.
How Elie Wiesel became a catalyst for change due to his experience within the Holocaust...
Elie Wiesel died on the morning of July 2, 2016 at Upper East Side, New York City, New York. He was 87 years old and died of natural causes due to health issues he has faced for several years. He leaves behind his legacy of being a catalyst for change through his books and speeches. He also leaves behind his wife Marion Wiesel and his son Shlomo Elisha Wiesel. Elie Wiesel will always be remembered for the influential writer, political activist, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor that he was. He shaped the world forever with his leadership and passion, because of him the memory of those that perished within the gas chambers lives on forever.