Though Elie Wiesel has written numerous books, it is Night by which he is known the best for. This memoir has illuminated events in history in prodigious power and detail. His book, along with his other subsequent writings, has essentially reforged memories of a disheartening past, which was not only significant in allowing people to empathize with victims like Wiesel himself, but hindering the possibility of another catastrophic event like the Holocaust to ensue once more. At first, Night did not have much of a profound effect on the public as it would in modern times, but it delivers awareness to the forefront and has sculpted the way the public would view the Holocaust.
The book Night was published in 1955, where Wiesel chronicles his hellish experience within concentration camps during the Holocaust. For some, Night was merely a reference point whenever the Holocaust is mentioned as a topic. For most, the book has enhanced their understanding of an atrocity full of suffering and sorrow. Prior to Night being released, Holocaust testimonies were scarce, but Night gave exposure to harsh realities as he was confined in Auschwitz. It displayed what physical and mental torment does to an individual rather than, simply, a mass of people. The way the Holocaust would be conceived has been altered because the narrative is one that is personal and lays foundation to an entirely new interpretation to experiencing a mass genocide.
Evidently, Elie Wiesel makes it clear that his intentions to writing Night was to enlighten the oblivious world that the extent of human cruelty goes beyond one might think, and that a sheer will to live can be sufficient in defeating death. The book establishes memories of the Holocaust, which enriches one’s comprehension of the Holocaust and as a result, lessens the likelihood of it happening again. When Wiesel writes about the barbarity of the SS in the concentration camps, he teaches lessons and engraves the memory of the Holocaust into readers’ minds. Other than the underlying themes about faith, dangers of hatred, and the consequences of indifference, “forgetting” one of the most atrocious mass genocides of all time was, in a sense, unlawful. “To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time”(Wiesel Preface XV). Wiesel ensures that by using his masterful, novelistic skill, he can shift the incorrect mindset some people possess for the better.
However, the publication of Night has led to even more momentous achievements for the world and Elie Wiesel. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his efforts against repression. Elie Wiesel and his wife Marion then founded the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Wiesel was also the guiding force of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. According to him, the initiation of the museum was a living memorial that spoke to the future as much as it did to the past. The accomplishments of Elie Wiesel and his works like Night, helped further transmit information about the Holocaust.
Elie Wiesel and his memoir, Night, spoke on the behalf of those victimized by oppression and genocide. Wiesel’s masterful wordplay strengthens the reader’s perception to the Nazis’ virulent Anti-Semitism, taught lessons to the world, decreasing the chance of another Holocaust from occurring again. Elie Wiesel died in 2016 at the age 87, leaving his novel, Night, an impressive legacy.