Night is told by Eliezer, a Jewish teenager who lives in the town of Sighet, in Hungarian Transylvania. Eliezer studies the Torah. His study is stopped, when his teacher, Moshe the Beadle, gets deported. Few months later, Moshe returns to Siget telling a horrifying story that the Gestapo took control of his train and led everyone into the woods, where they killed everyone. Nobody believes Moshe and he is taken for a crazy lunatic. In the spring of 1944, the Nazis occupied Hungary. The Jews of Eliezer’s town are forced into small houses within their town. Soon they are put into cattle cars, and after days and nights crammed into the car, they are all exhausted and near starvation, they arrive at Birkenau, the gateway to Auschwitz. Upon their arrival, Eliezer and his father are separated from his mother and sisters, which they never see again. Eliezer and his father seem to pass the evaluation whether they should be killed or put to work, but before they are brought to the prisoners’ barracks, they stumble upon the a pit where the Nazis are burning babies. The Jewish arrivals are stripped, shaved and treated with cruelty. Later the Nazis took them from Birkenau to the main concentration camp, Auschwitz. They got to Buna, a work camp, where Eliezer is put to work in an -electrical-fittings factory. The guard forces Eliezer to give him his gold tooth, which they take out with a gold spoon. Eliezer begins to lose his faith in God. A couple moths later, Eliezer has an operation on his foot. While he is in the camp, the Nazis evacuated the camp because the Russians are charging and are close freeing Buna. In a blizzard, the prisoners are forced to run for fifty miles to the Gleiwitz concentration camp. Many died because of the horrible weather and exhaustion. The prisoners are put into cattle cars again and lead on another deadly journey, but only few lived after they reached the concentration camp, Buchenwald. Eliezer and his father survived by staying together but in Buchenwald, Eliezer’s father dies of physical abuse. Eliezer survives until the day that the American army liberates the camp.
Eliezer struggles with his faith in Night. At the beginning of the book, his faith in God is very strong and when he was asked why he prays, he relpies, “Why did I live? Why did I breathe?” His belief in God is unconditional and he cannot imagine living without having faith in God. But he re-thinks his faith in God during the Holocaust. Eliezer’s faith in the Jewish Torah teachs him that everything on Earth reflects God’s holiness and power. He believes that God is good and God is everywhere in the world so that means the world is great. He doesn’t believe that the concentration camps could possibly reflect well. He wonders how God could be part of such a cruel place. His faith is also torn by the selfishness among the other prisoners.
He would be able to maintain his belief in God of humankind wasn’t treated that bad. But he realizes that the Holocaust causes the evil and cruelty to come out of the Nazis, and also the other prisoners. He feels like God is disgusted so he wants the rest of the world to be disgusted. Only in his lowest moments of his faith does he turn his back on God. Eliezer also refers to passages from the Torah when he denies his faith. When he gets scared that he might be separated from his father, he prays, and after his father’s death, he shows anger that their was no help from God. Even though he thought his faith was broken during the Holocaust, he still regained his faith in God at the end of the book.
Overall, I thought the book was a great way to explain how a person can go through a rough time and lose faith in God and in the end restore his faith in God. It portrayed they way many felt during the Holocaust, as they were being forced out of their homes because of their religion. Many lost faith in God, but hopefully they regained faith later in life. The book was a pleasure to read and I thought it was one of the better books I have read.