“To hate would be to reduce myself” is what Elie Wiesel told Opera in an interview. After all Wiesel had been through during the holocaust, he could not bring himself to hate. He demonstrates his respect for all human kind through his written work and public speeches; he understands the key interactions needed to make a society run. “Someone who hates one group will end up hating everyone – and, ultimately, hating himself or herself.” By following this statement Elie Wiesel came to terms with the atrocities that were brought down upon him and lives his life with compassion today. Elie Wiesel said, “Thou shalt not stand idly by.” He himself does not stand idly by; he is very active in the international community in places like Africa, where people are being oppressed. Where there is a call for help, Elie Wiesel is there to hear and to aid in stopping it. His personal account of the holocaust “Night” outlines his feelings about good and evil, God and his father during their captivity in the concentration camps.
Good usually prevails over evil, or does it? Many gross atrocities were committed against the Jews for no good reason. At the first concentration camp, Buna Elie witnessed babies being thrown into a pit and burned without being knocked out. The German officers just burned the babies, a symbol of complete innocence, in large pits like they were firewood and did not heed to their cries of fear and anguish. Another incident of conflict between good and evil is when Elie sees his kapo with the Polish girl and laughs. The next day Elie is called out and is whipped 10 times, the kapo used Elie as a scapegoat in front of all the other prisoners and humiliated and demoralized him because he had caught the kapo performing an immoral act, since the kapo and Elie already had conflicts with each other. A blatant example of good versus evil exists when the German’s make the prisoners go on an impossible run through the country. The German’s killed anyone who could not keep up, and made the prisoners run without food or water. During this time people had little to keep their moral high and were further demoralized by the Germans. In the end, the Jewish people were liberated, but they went through so much just to prove the statement that good always prevails over evil.
God is fair and good to his people, most of the time. When Elie was young he regarded God and religion with much respect, because of the crimes he witnessed, Elie began to question the presence and fairness of God. After the innocent looking pipit boy was hung and Rosh Hashanah was celebrated, Elie was angered when prisoners gathered and prayed and praised God’s name after all they had been through, he got angry with God and wondered why he would let people praise his name after all he had done to them. Another example is when he witnessed the babies being burned and wondered how a God who he loved so much could just sit back and watch the world’s most innocent beings be burned. Lastly, one calm night when Elie was in the camp after dinner and he looked around and questioned the presence of God, he was beginning to believe that God did not exist. God only showed his compassion at the end of the novel when the prisoners were liberated.
Elie has always had respect for his father, but during their time in the camps, he begins to regard his father in a whole different light. One of the first nights in the camp, Elie was with his father and his father asked a kapo where the lavatory was. The kapo scoffed at Elie’s father and struck him down, Elie froze, he did not know what to do, and he just stood there and wondered why he had not done anything. Another instance was when Elie would watch his father try to march; his father could not seem to get the rhythm and was often beaten because he was out of tune. Elie tried to teach his father, which showed that he loved him, love what not really shown in the camps everyone really looked out for themselves. Moreover, when the prisoners were in the cattle car waiting cold and starving from their run Elie’s father felt he had no reason to live, this is where Elie told him that he was his reason to keep going. Elie in the beginning does not really love his father, but only respects him, by the end of the novel is loves his father and shows it.
Elie Wiesel’s personal account of the Holocaust tells the world that it cannot remain silent when their fellow man is being oppressed, whether it is by hunger, poverty or by war. The holocaust teaches us many things about how we should live our lives. We should all stand up for what is good, not follow the beliefs of others blindly and strive to be examples of goodness in our communities. Elie Wiesel is this man, his personal grasp on life is strong and he is wiling to give his all for the sake of others.