Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.
Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.
When Elie Wiesel died in July 2016, the White House issued a memorial statement in which President Barack Obama called him “the conscience of the world.” The whole of the president’s eloquent tribute will appear as a foreword to this memorial edition of Night. “Like millions of admirers, I first came to know Elie through his account of the horror he endured during the Holocaust simply because he was Jewish,” wrote the president.
In 1986, when Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wrote, “Elie Wiesel was rescued from the ashes of Auschwitz after storm and fire had ravaged his life. In time he realized that his life could have purpose: that he was to be a witness, the one who would pass on the account of what had happened so that the dead would not have died in vain and so the living could learn.” Night, which has sold millions of copies around the world, is the very embodiment of that conviction. It is written in simple, understated language, yet it is emotionally devastating, never to be forgotten.
Born in the town of Sighet, Transylvania, Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz and then Buchenwald. Night is the shattering record of his memories of the death of his mother, father, and little sister, Tsipora; the death of his own innocence; and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night,” writes Wiesel. “Never shall I forget . . . even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.” These words are etched into the wall of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Far more than a chronicle of the sadistic realm of the camps, Night also addresses many of the philosophical and personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of the Holocaust.
The memorial edition of Night includes the unpublished text of a speech that Wiesel delivered before the United Nations General Assembly on the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz entitled “Will the World Ever Know.” These remarks powerfully resonate with Night and with subsequent acts of genocide.
Elisha is a young Jewish man, a Holocaust survivor, and an Israeli freedom fighter in British-controlled Palestine; John Dawson is the captured English officer he will murder at dawn in retribution for the British execution of a fellow freedom fighter. The night-long wait for morning and death provides Dawn, Elie Wiesel's ever more timely novel, with its harrowingly taut, hour-by-hour narrative. Caught between the manifold horrors of the past and the troubling dilemmas of the present, Elisha wrestles with guilt, ghosts, and ultimately God as he waits for the appointed hour and his act of assassination. Dawn is an eloquent meditation on the compromises, justifications, and sacrifices that human beings make when they murder other human beings.
The publication of Day restores Elie Wiesel's original title to the novel initially published in English as The Accident and clearly establishes it as the powerful conclusion to the author's classic trilogy of Holocaust literature, which includes his memoir Night and novel Dawn. "In Night it is the ‘I' who speaks," writes Wiesel. "In the other two, it is the ‘I' who listens and questions."
In its opening paragraphs, a successful journalist and Holocaust survivor steps off a New York City curb and into the path of an oncoming taxi. Consequently, most of Wiesel's masterful portrayal of one man's exploration of the historical tragedy that befell him, his family, and his people transpires in the thoughts, daydreams, and memories of the novel's narrator. Torn between choosing life or death, Day again and again returns to the guiding questions that inform Wiesel's trilogy: the meaning and worth of surviving the annihilation of a race, the effects of the Holocaust upon the modern character of the Jewish people, and the loss of one's religious faith in the face of mass murder and human extermination.