by Elie Wiesel
“We were the masters of nature, the masters of the world. We had transcended everything––death, fatigue, our natural needs. We were stronger than cold and hunger, stronger than the guns and the desire to die, doomed and rootless, nothing but numbers, we were the only men on earth.”
I tend to stray away from quotations during my book reviews, but I found this passage deliciously poignant and surprisingly inspirational, given the horrors that had already befallen Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, and what was yet to come in this searing memoir. For, Night is a recount of Wiesel’s near-death experiences moving between concentration camps at the end of the Second World War.
The hardest aspect to overcome when reading Night, for me, was actually believing everything. Had it been a work of fiction, I most likely would have made some comments on the lack of validity of the occurrences, but this was real. I had to constantly remind myself that this was, in fact, a firsthand account of that horrible period, and it was a great reminder of the incredible extent of human cruelty.
Night is a short read, but an essential one, nonetheless. For, in order to do what we can to prevent such tragedies in the future, we need to remember previous failures of humanity, no matter how unbelievable.