In the book Night, Eliezer is taken to Auschwitz and tormented by the Nazis through the process of dehumanization. Dehumanization is how the Nazis reduce the Jews to little more than pests. The definition of dehumanization is ‘the process of depriving a person or group of human qualities.’ It is making a person less than human. Eliezer is ripped away from most of his family and deprived of human connection. All of this dehumanizes Eliezer over the course of Night.
In the first few chapters Eliezer is whisked away from his village and transported to Auschwitz. Before he even enters the camp all he can smell is burning bodies and death. This is followed by unspeakable living conditions such as living in a concrete cell, being fed rarely if at all, and being beaten by guards. This is only the physical aspect of the torture he endures. He is also put through mental pain in Auschwitz. “Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.” Eliezer is permanently dehumanized by what he experiences in Auschwitz.
Human connection is one of the greatest contributing factors to feeling human. In Night Eliezer’s father demonstrates this connection by keeping Eliezer alive, giving him advice such as “don’t sleep in the snow.” This is then juxtaposed later in the book when Eliezer is the one keeping his father alive. Eliezer struggles to keep his father alive in the harsh conditions of Auschwitz, and it becomes apparent that the only thing keeping Eliezer going is his father. People in Auschwitz seek out that human connection to try and establish this it in order to feel human. One man approaches Eliezer after recognizing him as family and seeks out that connection. “The fellow’s eyes narrowed. He took a long look at my father. ‘You don’t know me? You don’t recognize me? I’m your relative, Stein. Already forgotten’stein, Stein from Antwerp. Reizel’s husband. Your wife was Reizel’s aunt.’” This man in what is likely his darkest hour seeks out the only human thing he can find, connection. That connection is what Eliezer gets from his father. However, Eliezer loses that connection with his father once his dad dies from a blow to the head. Without his father Eliezer is dehumanized.
Eliezer’s father is beaten by guards in order to get to Eliezer to give up his gold tooth. However in that moment Eliezer is angry at his father for not being able to avoid the guards. “What is more, any anger I felt at that moment was directed, not against the Kapo, but against my father. I was angry with him, for not knowing how to avoid Idek’s outbreak. That is what concentration camp life had made of me.” Eliezer realizes that the concentration camp has changed him from someone who would blame himself if anything happened to his father to someone who would blame his father. Eliezer eventually concedes and says that the the guards can have his gold tooth. He then has it forcibly removed with a spoon. Eliezer witnesses his father being beaten and then has his tooth removed with a spoon. This is a perfect example of both the mental and physical pain Eliezer goes through in Auschwitz.
In Night Eliezer is taken to Auschwitz and dehumanized through mental and physical torture inflicted by both the Nazis who run it and the atmosphere the concentration camp provides. At the end of the book Eliezer escapes the camp and sees a corpse staring back at him in the mirror. This is representative of Eliezer as a person after being put through Auschwitz. He is a corpse, less than a human.