The horrible accounts of the holocaust are vividly captured by Elie Wiesel in Night, an award winning work by a Holocaust survivor. It describes his time in the Holocaust and helps the reader fully understand the pain he went through. In the text, Elie continuously mentions how he is losing his faith to god. It is evident that he has nearly, if not completely lost his faith during the events of the holocaust. In the memoir, Night, Elie Wiesel’s faith changes because of the absence of God, the dehumanization of the prisoners, and all of the death that surrounds him.
A main factor to the loss of Elie’s faith is the absence of God. Many times in the memoir, Elie is concerned that God is no longer with them or even gone. One of which being “Where is God now? And I heard a voice within me answer him: Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows. ” (Wiesel 62). The gallows that Elie is referring to is the gallows at which the little boy was hanged from. The gallows symbolize the loss of not only God but hope. On page 64 Elie thinks to himself that God has forsaken his people for no reason. He wonders why they are being punished for doing nothing but praying and praising their god.
God has not only neglected the Jews, but has allowed them to be tortured and dehumanized by the Nazi soldiers. The SS. Soldiers treated the Jews so badly that they could be considered dehumanized. Dehumanization caused Elie to lose faith because the feeling of being helpless drained all of the hope left within him. One of the first things the Nazis did to humiliate the Jews was to make strip. An SS soldier yelled out, “Strip! Fast! Los! Keep only your belts and shoes in your hands…” (Wiesel 32). This was the last time any Jew was an individual. They were all given identical outfits to wear each day.
Their heads were all shaved which also took away any individuality within the community. The goal of the Nazis was to ensure that all hope and faith was wiped out of the Jewish people. They were successful because Elie, one of the most faithful Jews, lost his faith due to dehumanization. Every Jew was given an identification number which was tattooed on to their forearm. They became numbers rather than people. This was one of the biggest acts of dehumanization because a name is what gives each person individuality and value. Without it everyone is ordinary, and all the same.
This was a factor in Elie’s loss of faith because it made him feel inferior and not important anymore. Another act of dehumanization was the fact that they were forced to run 42 miles in the cold without stopping. If somebody decided to stop running, they would be killed or trampled by the other oncoming Jews. This took a huge chunk of hope out of Elie. At one point Elie debated stopping and just allowing himself to die. The only thing keeping him going was his father, until he died. Death proved to be the most prominent thing in Elie’s new life in the Holocaust.
The first big death that Elie experienced was arguably the most poignant moment in the memoir. The little angel eyed boy was brutally killed by being hanged publicly for no good reason at all. The boy was too small and suffered because he wasn’t heavy enough to break his own neck on the noose. The Jews were forced to watch for a very long time until he finally passed. This affected Elie’s faith in numerous ways because he could not understand why god would let this innocent boy die the way he did. An even more important death to Elie was the death of his father.
His father was sick with dysentery and was bed ridden for days. He was then beaten by some others and eventually died of a blow to the head. This caused turmoil in Elie’s life because all of his faith and will to live stemmed from his father. After his father’s death he had nothing to look forward to and nothing to be faithful for. Because of this, he lost all of his faith and will to live. It is remarkable that Elie was able to survive without any faith because that is what pushed him to live on. Death was the prominent reason Elie lost his faith in the memoir.
The absence of God, the dehumanization of the prisoners, and all of the death that surrounds him causes Elie Wiesel to lose faith in the memoir Night. Once Elie knew that god had betrayed him and the other Jews, he began to lose his faith. After being tortured to an unbelievable extent and treated like dogs he lost yet even more faith. Finally, when his father, his source of faith, dies he completely loses all hope and will to live. Elie’s faith changed drastically from the beginning to the end of the memoir because he had to live through the horrors of the Holocaust.