United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

How is the Holocaust Relevant Today?

NightDo you remember the first time you read Elie Wiesel's Night? Please share your memories of reading this book, and its impact on you. What do you think is the continuing relevance of reading books such as Night?

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Name:
JENNY Gottschalk

June 14, 2006 05:29 AM

Message:
Although not jewish ourselves our family life has been framed around the after effects of my husband never knowing his grandmother and his father spending his life coping with the fact that after leaving on the last kindertransport he never saw his mother again. The trauma transends generations which those without a personal connection do not understand.A child at school recently asked my 16year old son what it was like to be a jew. He came home and told me that he did not know how to respond.I explained to him that next time that happened that he should say that he never had the chance to know his grandmother because she was killed in the camps and that to make the experience personnal would help to bring the holocaust home as anunderstandable reality to those to whom it is already only history. We must not dwell on the past but it is vitally important to inform our children so that in their turn they will stand up and not let such attrocities happen again. We live in a small country town in which there are a few very narrow minded individuals and we have been called Jews as a dirogitory term over a minor neighbourly parking dispute. It was a sobering moment!

Name:
Jones

June 08, 2006 06:49 PM

Location:
Texas

Message:
I saw the Oprah episode wherein she and Mr. Wiesel visited Auschwitz. I am normally not at home during the day as I work full-time; however, I happen to be visiting my sister that evening and she taped it. I had chills the entire time...How does the Holocaust affect me today? Personally, I am crippled with astonishment that such an evil man has ever walked the planet, influencing so many to breed hatred. My heart is heavy every time I think about the Holocaust. When I meet a Jewish person, I want to hug them and say I'm sorry for what your people have suffered. As I sit here reading through this website, my 'problems' seem so miniscule and purposeless. It also feels to be a precursor to Bin Laden and what is happening around the globe with terrorism. It's so sad and scary. I can't imagine my life being disrupted with such anger and hatred towards me for no reason. I have no idea why they rage. I adore my family and revel in the fact that I can see them whenever I want. I think the Holocaust not only teaches people the fragility of life, but also that the world can turn on a dime...there is no such thing as security. (I eliminate my information because I am ashamed to admit my German heritage).

Name:
Wendy Middleman Williams

June 08, 2006 04:35 PM

Message:
I watched both the televised shows of Elie Wiesel's and Oprah Winfrey's trip through Auschwitz and the contest winners of the essay contest during my adult Bat Mitzvah class the past two weeks. I cannot begin to express my heartfelt thanks for bringing this , once again to the attention of so many. This essay contest was just phenomenal. Knowing so many h.s. students have been touched by this in so many personal ways is a reminder that they are the voice of our future. I truly believe they will lead a more willing world to stand up for and protect each other.

Name:
Jonae

June 07, 2006 12:07 PM

Message:
The holocaust is revlevant to today because there are still situations that occur around the world many are similar to the holocaust that many of us are unaware of, thats why we need more people like Mr. Elie because we know so little about what he and the others went through those years

Name:
Joyce Bender

June 06, 2006 09:39 PM

Message:
I am the CEO of Bender Consulting Services, Inc. and host of the Internet Talk Radio Show--Disability Matters with Joyce Bender--I am also a woman with epilepsy. The Holocaust is so important to us all as it is a constant reminder of what happens when men are full of pride and lack integrity and wisdom. As we now enter the age of genetic testing that can cause a mother or father to choose to abort a child based on disability we must remember what happened when the "ideal human" was sought in Germany. We can- we must--never-ever forget.

Name:
Armando Robles

June 06, 2006 01:45 PM

Message:
I think that what happen during the Second World War and the concentration camp is a disgrace to the human race. I wish i could go back and time and rescued all of the Six million estimated Jews that were executed and the camps.

Name:
Ashley

June 05, 2006 05:50 PM

Message:
I finished reading "Night" for a second time. Some people would say that Elie Wiesel's sentences are too simple and the descriptions are vague, but I don't think the general public could handle what Wiesel really saw. If Wiesel wrote down every detail, we would be much more disturbed upon finishing this masterpiece.

Wiesel trusts his readers enough to know his hate, how cold the nights got, how the mind separates from the body, how men can turn into animals. Wiesel trusts us to go beyond his words, so that we can go as far as we can bear without frightening ourselves.

Of course, we cannot understand in the slightest degree of what Wiesel went through. Perhaps we'll never know, no matter how learned we are of the Holocaust and how many tears we shed. Wiesel simply wants his readers, us, to know what happened in the twentieth century.

What is more disturbing than reading about the deaths of the Holocaust is the death of Wiesel's faith in God.

That was the most troubling part for me to read.

Name:
Chelsey

June 04, 2006 07:28 PM

Location:
Bronx

Message:
I think the Book night was very hard for me to read and I think it was a good book

Name:
Fern Sidman

June 04, 2006 03:05 AM

Location:
Brooklyn, NY

Message:
Elie Wiesel's book, "Night" was one of the first books I had read on the Holocaust when I was in high school back in the mid 1970s. His painful and searing account of the unspeakable horror, known as the Holocaust is the single most defining event of the 20th century.

The lessons of "Night" are as relevant today as they were when the Holocaust occurred and will be relevant as long as the world continues to exist. Within the hearts of mankind is both good and evil, love and hate and as long as hatred and evil can stir the hearts of men to commit such atrocities and engage in such barbaric tortures and mass murders then the lessons of "Night" will never be obsolete or outdated.

It is incumbent on all those who have learned the lessons of "Night" to speak out against all injustices and hatred aimed at specific groups of people. I live amongst many Holocaust survivors, and the prevailing sentiment is that silence equals death. Had more people had the courage to actively oppose Hitler and pressure the free world to do so, perhaps the course of history would have been irrevocably changed.

There are others who are devoutly observant Orthodox Jews, whose faith never dimmed during those nightmare years and credit their survival to the hand of G-d. Their view is that anti-semitism is a permanent part of and endemic to our society as it has been since time immemorial and no efforts towards stemming this insidious evil would have helped. There is no question that this view also has a great deal of validity and credibility as well in our times.

This of course does not release us from the obligation to fight evil and hatred. For in the end, it is we who will suffer for not speaking out when we could and it is we who will suffer for not exhausting every effort to thwart movements predicated on mass extermination of any segment of our society.

For those who believe in a Higher Power, we must believe that there will be an accounting and reckoning of our deeds and misdeeds on this earth and we will be asked by the Heavenly Court where we were and what we did to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. Their are sins of commission and sins of omission, to which we are held equally responsible. Apathy and fear and reluctance to act are not valid excuses. Let us not be guility of remaining silent and feigning ignorance when we have the ability to voice our outrage and indignation at those who would destroy our brothers and sisters.

Name:
"Concrete Angel"

June 03, 2006 09:42 PM

Message:
It'd kind of disturbing to see and hear how these people where treated, but people need to know this stuff. They really do. Exspecially racial people who don't like people of a different religion or belief. Knowing this makes us think clearer and relize that we are our own enemy.

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