Introduction to Night

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					Introduction to
   By: Elie Wiesel
About the Author
                   n   Born September 30, 1928
                       in Sighet, Romania.
                   n   Grew up in a small village
                       where his life revolved
                       around the following:
                       n   Family
                       n   Religious Study
                       n   Community
                       n   God
About the Author
n   In 1944, when Elie was 15, he was
    deported to Auschwitz.
    n   When they arrived at the camp, he and his father
        were warned to lie about their ages. Elie said he
        was 18 and his father said he was 40 instead of
         n   They were sent to be slave laborers.
         n   His mother and youngest sister were sent to the
             gas chambers.
About the Author
n   Elie and his father
    survived first
    Auschwitz and then
    the Buna labor camp
    for eight months.
    n   They endured beatings,
        excessive work,
        starvation, and other
About the Author
n   In the winter 1944-45,
    Wiesel’s right knee
    swelled up and a doctor
    performed surgery on it.
    n   Two days later, the
        inmates were forced to go
        on a death march.
    n   For ten days they were
        forced to run, then
        crammed into freight cars,
        and sent to Buchenwald.
About the Author
                   n   Of the 20,000
                       prisoners who left
                       Buna, only 6,000
                   n   When they arrived to
                       Buchenwald, Elie’s
                       father, Shlomo, died of
                       dysentary, starvation,
                       and exhaustion.
About the Author
n   After the death of his father, Elie was sent to join the
    children’s block of Buchenwald.
n   At the end of the war, April 6, 1945, the prisoners were told
    they would no longer be fed.
    n   They began evacuating the camp killing 10,000 prisoners a day.
About the Author
n   After he was freed from the camp on April
    11, Wiesel became sick with intestinal
n   After several days in the hospital, Wiesel
    wrote an outline for a book describing the
    n   He wasn’t ready to publicize his experience, but
        promised he would in ten years.
About the Author
                   n   After Elie was released
                       from the hospital, he had
                       no family to return to.
                       n   He went with 400 other
                           orphan children to France.
                   n   From 1945-1947, he
                       moved from house to
                       house found for him by
                       Children’s Rescue Society.
About the Author
n   By 1947, he was
    reunited with both of
    his surviving sisters,
    Bea and Hilda.
    n   Hilda found his picture in
        a newspaper.
    n   He found Bea in
About the Author
                   n   In 1948, Elie enrolled in
                       the Sorbonne University
                       where he studied
                       literature, philosophy, and
                   n   He was extremely poor
                       and very depressed.
                       n   He considered suicide
About the Author
n   Over time, he became involved with the Irgun, a Jewish
    militant organization in Palestine, and translated materials
    from Hebrew to Yiddish for the Irgun’s newspaper.
n   He began working as a reporter, and in 1949, he traveled to
    Israel as a correspondent for the French newspaper, L’Arche.
n   In Israel, he found a job as a Paris correspondent for the
    Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot.
    n   He traveled the world in the 1950’s.
    n   He also became involved in the argument whether Israel should
        accept reparations payments from West Germany.
Turning Point
n   Weisel’s turning point came when he interviewed
    the Catholic writer, Fancois Mauriac.
n   During the interview, everything was centered
    around Jesus and Wiesel ended up saying the
    n   "…ten years ago, not very far from here, I knew Jewish
        children every one of whom suffered a thousand times
        more, six million times more, than Christ on the cross. And
        we don’t speak about them."
         n   Wiesel ran out of the room, but Mauriac followed and
             advised Weisel to write down his experience.
The Novel
n   Elie spent a year working on the 862 page
    manuscript he called And the World Was Silent.
    n   He gave it to his publisher who returned it as a 258 page
        book called Night.
    n   The book was published first in France in 1958 and then
        in the U.S. in 1960.
         n   The book is autobiographical and told of his experiences
             during the Holocaust.
         n   It also is his personal account of his loss of religious faith.
Elie and Oprah
Losing Faith
n   In 1955, Wiesel moved to New York as
    foreign correspondent for Yediot Ahronot.
n   It was around this time that he decided to
    stop attending synagogue, except on the
    High Holidays, as a protest against what he
    concluded was divine injustice.
The Accident
n   Crossing the street
    one night in July 1965,
    Elie was hit by a taxi
    and had to undergo a
    ten hour surgery.
    n   After recovery, he
        focused on his writing
        and published numerous
        books from then on out.
         n   What books do you
The Marriage
               n   In 1969, Elie married
                   Marion Erster Rose, a
                   divorced woman from
                   n    She translated all of
                       Wiesel’s subsequent
                   n   In 1972, they had a son
                       who they named
                       Shlomo Elisha Wiesel,
                       after Wiesel’s father.
n   Wiesel was outspoken about the suffering of all
    people, not only Jews.
    n   In the 1970s, he protested against South African apartheid.
    n   In 1980, he delivered food to starving Cambodians
    n   In 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Prize as “a
        messenger to mankind,” and “a human being dedicated to
         n   He explained his actions by saying the whole world knew
             what was happening in the concentration camps, but did
             nothing. “That is why I swore never to be silent whenever
             and wherever human beings endure suffering and
n   From 1972 to 1978, Wiesel was a Distinguished
    Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University
    of New York.
n   1978, he became a Professor of Humanities at
    Boston University.
n    In 1978, President Jimmy Carter asked him to
    head the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, which
    he did for six years.
n   In 1985, Wiesel was awarded the Congressional
    Gold Medal of Achievement.
n   In 1988, he established his own humanitarian
    foundation, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for
    Humanity, to explore the problems of hatred and
    ethnic conflicts.
n   In the early 1990s, he lobbied the U.S.
    government on behalf of victims of ethnic
    cleansing in Bosnia.
n   Wiesel has received numerous awards and
    approximately 75 honorary doctorates.
Holocaust Museum
               n   In 1993, Wiesel spoke at
                   the dedication of the U.S.
                   Holocaust Memorial
                   Museum in Washington,
                   n   His words, which echo his
                       life’s work, are carved in
                       stone at the entrance to
                       the museum:
                        n   “For the dead and the
                            living, we must bear
Quotes to Remember
n   A destruction, an annihilation that only man can provoke, only
    man can prevent.
n   Hope is like peace. It is not a gift from God. It is a gift only we
    can give one another.
n   I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt
    that having survived I owe something to the dead. and
    anyone who does not remember betrays them again.
n   I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human
    beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always
    take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
    Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Quotes to Remember
               n   I write to understand as
                   much as to be understood.
               n   No human race is
                   superior; no religious faith
                   is inferior. All collective
                   judgments are wrong.
                   Only racists make them.
               n   The opposite of love is not
                   hate, it's indifference.

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