Within the novel Night by Elie Wiesel there are several historically relevant events that occur that can be discuss, but there are three examples that I find to be the most relevant within the story. The first example of historical relevance is when Elie mentions how every Jew had to wear the Star of David, so that people knew who was or wasn’t Jewish. The second example of historical relevance that I’m going to discuss is how children were treated and what happened to them during the holocaust, which to me is the most impactful. Finally, I will discuss the relevance of how all Jews were shaved and branded with a number when they arrived at their concentration camp.
The first representation in the novel Night that shows historical relevance is when Elie mentions how all Jews had to wear the Star of David when he wrote “… a new decree: every Jew had to wear the yellow star” (Wiesel 11). The reason this has relevance is because there have been multiple artifacts and stories to back up this fact during that time period. It was done for identification purposes, by the Germans, all Jews were forced to wear this yellow star on their clothing. If they had to wear this star, they were automatically labeled as a Jew and this led to limitations for the Jews. “We no longer had the right to frequent restaurants or cafes, to travel by rail, to attend synagogue, to be on the streets after 6 o’clock in the evening”, which was just the beginning of what this minority group would endure throughout this time period we call the Holocaust (Wiesel 11).
The second and most devastating citation of relevance mentioned in the novel is how the children were treated and what happened to almost every child under the age of 18. In the novel, Elie states that “A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes… children thrown into the flames”, this is just the first instance used in the book that illustrates the way in which children were treated during the Holocaust (Wiesel 32). Not only is this mortifying to even think about, but there is plenty of evidence that helps support that this kind of thing did happen during the Holocaust. Many of the German Nazi’s were indifferent on who they killed, whether it was men, women or children. The second example illustrates how desperate fathers and mothers were to try and save their young children from being sent to the crematorium. This is illustrated in the novel when a conversation between Elie and another man happens right before Elie and his father enter the concentration camp. It states “’Hey, kid, how old are you?’ The man interrogating me was an inmate. I could not see his face, but his voice was weary and warm. ‘Fifteen.’ ‘No. You’re eighteen.’ ‘But I am not,’ I said. ‘I’m fifteen.’ ‘Fool. Listen to what I say’” (Wiesel 30). The interaction between Elie and the unknown man shows that even a stranger was trying to save Elie from an unfortunate ending to his life. This man knew that if Elie didn’t tell the SS officers that he was of age, that he would be sent to the crematorium and killed.
The final example of historical relevance is the process that they Jews went through when they got to the concentration camps; being completely shaved and branded. Elie explains the first part of this process when he states, “Their clippers tore out our hair, shaved every hair on our bodies” (Wiesel 35). He gave us a vivid picture when he explained how he was branded in the novel. The novel reads “Three prisoners brought a table and some medical instruments. We were told to roll up our left sleeves and file past the table. The three ‘veteran’ prisoners, needles in hand, tattooed numbers on our left arms. I become A-7713. From then on, I had no other name” (Wiesel 42). Like the other examples of historical relevance within this novel, there are personal accounts from people just like Elie that back up the fact that these events happened during the Holocaust.
To summarize, the novel Night by Elie Wiesel is a completely historically relevant work. Along with the book being an account from an actual survivor of the Holocaust, there are also multiple other sources and citations that support the account that Elie tells in his novel.