In his autobiography Night , Elie Wiesel shares his experiences in Auschwitz-Birkenau, a Nazi concentration camp. He was part of the small number Jews to survive the Holocaust.
Wiesel’s identity changed completely during his time in Auschwitz; He lost faith in god and he became less sympathetic to his family and friends deaths .Contrary to popular belief, he returned stronger than before.The greatest change to Elie Wiesel’s identity was his loss of faith in God. Before he and his family were moved to the camps, Wiesel was a very religious child who “cried after praying at night” (Wiesel 2). When the Hungarian police come to force them to move to the ghettos, “they pulled Elie from his prayers” (Wiesel 13). Even on his way to Auschwitz, Wiesel gave thanks to God when he was “told he would be assigned to labor camps” (Wiesel 24). After a few days in Auschwitz, he heard about the crematory, it scared him that they could just burn people alive. He learned they (Nazis) were killing the old, hurt, and sick.
This is the first time his faith started to fade:”Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. …Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust” (Wiesel 32). Later, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Elie did not celebrate. He thought “Why, but why should I bless Him?” He blames god for everything, for there is no one else to blame. He can’t believe that after his years of faith, god let this happen.
Wiesel’s faith in God died out during his time in the camps. Losing his faith changes his identity. These experiences make him change not only his belief in God, but his faith in survival also wavers. By the end of the book, Elie has a different outlook on survival. He writes, “It no longer mattered.
After my father’s death, nothing could touch me anymore” (Wiesel 107). Previous to his father’s death, if his father got abused or hurt, he showed little remorse, instead he hid his anger and a desire to “sink his nails into the criminal’s flesh” (Wiesel 37) to save his father. But shortly before his father died, he began to care less and less about him. And when his father passed , he had no reason to go on, to live. But he wasn’t sad, because his only thought was to survive: “I had no more tears. And in the depths of my being, in the recesses of my weakened conscience, could I have searched it, I might perhaps have found something like—free at last!” (Wiesel 106) Wiesel lost his ability to care about his own life.
Elie’s lack of feeling shows how much he changed while in the concentration camp.