Night, Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel
Difficult review. Because this book is about concentration camps, and it’s not historical fiction, but it’s a true account by Elie Wiesel.
The book is written without much ornamentation, it’s a simple and direct retelling of what happened to Elie Wiesel (he was 15 and turned 16 while in the camps) and to those around him.
A friend of mine says that people keep writing books like this in the hope that what they experienced never happens again, but because of how we humans are, these atrocities will keep happening. Yes, crimes and violence will still exist, I know that. But I also believe the book is written so that we don’t forget what happened. I also believe that those who have suffered all this impossible to put in words tortures and pain, they need to constantly tell their story, because at all times, there’s someone wanting or needing to hear it. Pain takes shape in our testimonies. It’s part of life, we need to make room for books like this, for truths like this.
The worn out adagio of those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it, is more than a saying, it’s a deep truth. Books like this form our memory. They are a reminder of how far some can go in their attempt to reduce man to beast. But they are also about our ability to bounce back and reclaim that dignity as humans that should never be violated.
Every day, every choice we make, defines who we are. When pushed to the limits, doing the best thing becomes a wishful desire, an out of reach luxury. Elie confides on a couple of instances when he wished he had acted differently, more nobly, yet we cannot say that what he did was wrong either. And when we put those low moments he and others around him lived through, against the whole of how they were treated, the conditions they had to endure, we cannot help but feel proud of them, and extremely thankful to them for showing their torturers that no matter how brutally they treated them, they were men and no animals. Those who are treated like animals, may at times behave as such, but they are not beasts, the beasts are those who are trying to rob them of their dignity, their human condition.