Night by Elie Wiesel: A Review


My daughter’s reading list for her freshman year of high school seems to be getting me to read some books that I have been om my reading list.

Weisel’s book is devastating. While it shows the true will power that he had to have to survive the Holocaust and the many camps that he resided, it also raised concerns for the human condition. The condition that as things begin to happen to us we just start to become numb to it and either start to solely focus on ourselves or simply fail to care all together. This is evident in our country today as we become desensitized to the shooting that occur everyday. Hopefully, the 51 people killed in Orlando this past week, will bring the discussion to the forefront once again. Of course every person is a little different and reacts in different ways when placed in different situations.

It is devastating to see Weisel’s faith diminish the longer he stays in the camp. However, I don’t think that we can be really surprised by that, given the amount of evil that pervaded those in the camps during World War II. The fact is, you were always wondering when it was going to be your turn to be selected and face the gas chamber or a firing squad. It is no wonder that you would begin to wonder where God was in all of this.

One of the most moving parts for me was following the hanging of a young child:

Behind me, I heard the same man asking: “For God’s sake, where is God?” And from within me, I hear a voice answer: “Where He is? This is where-hanging here from this gallows…” That night, the soup tasted of corpses.

I believe God was present, every step along the way. However, the evil that pervaded Hitler’s Germany seemed to trump the sense of God in all of the death.

This book should be lifted up and required reading for everyone in high school. It speaks to this present day as we wonder where Christ is in the comments of certain politicians running for office. It seems that all they spew is hate for others and disregard certain people as not worthy of the grace of God. I pray that as we come to election season, love is lifted up and the care for all of humankind is of the utmost importance.

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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