Listening to a 16-year old author describe laying helpless, listening to his father’s cries, unable to answer, as the SS beat his father, sick with dysentery, is a haunting description. I cannot begin to imagine the guilt, the pain, the suffering with which such a man must live for the rest of his days. To imagine the face of my father, and listen to that account, remembering how unsure I felt during my late adolescence, I cannot fathom being able to survive such loss. Why human beings would do such things to each other?
The story was profound. When I started to listen to Night, I wondered why in our Religions of the World class it was assigned…now that I’m done with it, I think about how the author lost his faith in God. He started as a young mystic, eager to study the Kabbalah, full of mystery and wonder at the nature of divinity. Then, as a young man, coming face to face with true horror, watching infants thrown into fiery ditches; infants that were alive when thrown into piles of burning children, how he lost his love of God. Suddenly I am struck with how much such oppression, pain and atrocity must affect a people of faith and devotion.
This is the legacy of history; millions of individual voices coming towards us from the past, individuals like us, whose experiences, whose memories are our inheritance. So now I wonder, what inheritance did the atrocities of the Holocaust leave the Jewish faith? It must be profound. I don’t know that I could ever possibly understand such a thing. Its too big.
The edition on audible includes Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and to hear his words speak of memory, and of responsibility after hearing his account