Hello Chickeneers, I’ve got a little discussion about a really great book today. It’s a fairly small novel, only 115 pages, but its message is so powerful. The book Night was written by Elie Wiesel and contained a lot of significant and impactful scenes about the Holocaust. The story is told from a Jew’s point of view, which allows the reader to understand the events of the Holocaust from the victim’s eyes. I noticed a repeating theme of violence and repression throughout the book. Although there were many scenes that carved depressing images (in a good way) in my head, one scene from the book really stood out for me.
Starting from the bottom page 56, Eliezer begins to fill us in with some background information, saying that it was quite odd that their group was forced to go to the depot that day, even though they weren’t required to work. While everyone was walking around, Eliezer heard some noises coming from the back. Being just a tad curious, he went closer to the sounds and saw Idek, his Kapo, in a small room with a girl. And like how curiosity killed the cat, he was soon punished for it. He received twenty five whip lashes and briefly fainted afterwards. Then, he was called to stand up and look at Idek. However, no matter how hard he tried, he found no energy left to support himself.
“If only I could answer him, if only I could tell him that I could not move. But my mouth would not open.” – Eliezer
I found this scene especially terrifying and cruel, because not only was Eliezer punished harshly for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also because his Kapo, Idek, wasn’t punished for his own mistakes. Eliezer caught Idek doing something that was definitely inappropriate on the job, yet Idek punished Eliezer for catching him in the process of it. This shows how much power the Nazis had over all the Jews, and how lowly they thought of the Jews. Just a little bit of background information – the Kapos were essentially prisoners that carried out the orders and commands of the Nazi guards. It’s ironic that they’re prisoners themselves, yet they’re able to carry out orders from the Nazis and bring pain and agony other prisoners as if they were aliens. However, there’s also the fact that they’re just doing their job; if they fail to perform their duties, there would be severe punishments and possible even death. And yet again, this still shows how horrible the Nazis were towards the majority of the prisoners and the Jews.
When I first read this scene, I couldn’t help but associate it with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom, like Eliezer, was also whipped senselessness near the end of the novel. They both were punished inhumanely and judged immediately by their ethnicity and religion. In fact, one of the reasons why Uncle Tom was whipped to death was because he refused to give up his belief in God.
All of these reasons are part of why I believe this scene of the story is one that I both love and hate. It’s a really great story, chickeneers. If you guys haven’t read it yet, I completely recommend it. It’ll touch your heart while revealing horrible events of the holocaust. If you want more information on the holocaust, here’s a pretty informative link about Jewish life during that time period.