Wednesday, March 1, 2023

1000 Books Project: Part Two of Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy - Discussing Dawn

I don't really have too much to say about Dawn. Not quite as compelling as Night, but still gripping in its own right. I did find myself wondering how many young people who survived the Holocaust (the camps) ended up exactly where Elisha did...part of a terrorist movement? It's sad to become so consumed with hate, but it is very understandable. I can see how fighting back against oppression is very important to them. Of course, Gad is a convincing recruiter. 

"Gad's stories were utterly fascinating. I saw in him a prince of Jewish history, a legendary messenger sent by fate to awaken my imagination, to tell the people whose past was now their religion: Come, come; the future is waiting for you with open arms. From now on you will no longer be humiliated, persecuted, or even pitied. You will not be strangers encamped in an age and a place that are not yours. Come, brothers, come!"

The ending is truly hard to read. I think to myself, I could never kill another human being, but I have never been faced with oppression. That being said, is terrorism really the answer? It has been around for hundreds of years, and nothing has ever really changed. Much the same as war. Something to think about.


What did you think of Dawn? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

We are reading Book Three of the Night Trilogy, The Accident, this month. According to our reading schedule, I will post the discussion on (around) March 31.

Get new posts by email:

Thursday, February 2, 2023

1000 Books Project: Part One of Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy - Discussing Night

I will never ever understand how human beings could treat their fellow man so horrifically. The Holocaust is what happens when people turn a blind eye to what is slowly developing in their back yards. It could happen again, people. As much as I hate to say that, I can't help but believe it. I don't want to get political, but I just have to say that I never thought I would see America becoming what it is becoming. Our very Democracy trampled upon.

Let's talk a bit about why this Night has been challenged or banned. First, some information...

One of the key consequences of book banning is erasure. When we decide that some things are too uncomfortable to talk about, we risk losing the memory of how things happen. We lose context, we lose people, we lose the truth.

That seems to be the case according to a recent study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. The New York Times summarizes, “Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was. And 52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force.”

Read that second paragraph again. Let it sink in. That is a very high percentage of people who know nothing, but let's ban all the books about it so we can get that up to 100 percent. I knew about the Holocaust when I was as young as elementary school age. My parents did not shield me from it because they understood the importance of knowing and acknowledging what happened. 

In 2017, the Conejo Valley Unified School District adopted an opt-out policy where parents could object to reading materials in the core list. While no books were actually taken off the list, enough parents opted-out their children from reading Night that the teacher could not effectively teach it to the rest of the class.

The other thing to point out in the second paragraph above "52 percent of Americans wrongly think Hitler came to power through force." Night starts out when Elie and his family are still living their daily lives, but we start to see gradual changes in their lives, until finally, the family is separated and Elie and his father are on their way to Auschwitz. Even the Jewish people, their neighbors and friends, ignored the warning signs because, really, what did they have to compare it with. In their minds, they could not fathom it, even when Moche the Beadle warned them. 

Only through history, and learning these subjects, instead of brushing them under the rug, can we understand how easily Hitler accomplished what he set out to accomplish. We cannot turn a blind eye to things going on in the world just because they are difficult to face, or because we think it could never happen. It happened. It could happen again. 

Elie Wiesel said: "We may use words to break the prison." In this video, he explains that he wrote his memoir Night out of a duty to bear witness to his experiences in the Holocaust.

We must keep reading books with subjects of injustice. We must keep reading, and spreading the word about how and why books are challenged or banned. 

International Holocaust Remembrance day is on January 27 every year. Let us never forget what happened. Let us not let future generations forget. 


What did you think of Night? Share any and all thoughts in the comments.

We are reading Book Two of the Night Trilogy, Dawn, this month. According to our reading schedule, I will post the discussion on (around) February 28. 

Sources of quoted (italicized) information:

5 Banned Books That Will Help You Learn About the Holocaust

Facing History and Ourselves, “We May Use Words to Break the Prison: Elie Wiesel on Writing Night,” video, last updated April 19, 2022.

Get new posts by email:

Monday, January 2, 2023

1000 Books Project - The Night Trilogy Reading Schedule

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first book in our 1000 Books Project: Banned Books 2023 read-along challenge.

Time to start Elie Wiesel's Night Trilogy. 

My edition: Hill and Wang, New York - trade paperback, 318 pages.

Discussions will be posted here on the blog on the dates indicated in the schedule. Feel free to stop by the discussions any time. Post your thoughts in the comments, or share a link to a blog post.

Reading Schedule:
  • January: Night (starting with the short introduction on page 3), pp. 3 - 119
    Discussion post will go up on January 31
  • February: Dawn, pp. 121 - 204
    Discussion post will go up on February 28
  • March: The Accident, pp. 205 - 318 (end)
    Discussion will go up on March 31

The original challenge post with info and sign-up is here.

Happy reading!

Get new posts by email: