One Book, One Chicago Spring 2002
- Why are the warnings of “horrible things to come” from Moshe the Beadle not taken seriously? Are there other warnings?
- What would be the considerations for your decision to warn others, keep quiet or take action in a similar situation?
- Why does Madame Schachter scream? Is she a madwoman or a prophet?
- Why are the prisoners so angry with the newly arrived Jews?
- After prisoners are shaven, given tattoos and uniforms, what are they left with?
- Why do Eliezer and the other prisoners respond so emotionally to the hanging of the child? Why were the SS “more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual?”
- Discuss how Eliezer’s relationship with his father changes throughout the book.
- The Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning, does not mention the dead and instead praises God. In Night, what did it mean that living people recited it for themselves and why did this anger Eliezer?
- What advice does the head of the block give to Eliezer on page 105? How does it compare to the advice given by the young Pole on page 38?
- Wiesel concludes his work by writing, “a corpse gazed back at me, the look in his eye, as they stared at mine, has never left me.” Discuss this statement.
- From deportation from Sighet to murder at Birkenau, deception was often used to confuse the prisoners. How does does deception dehumanize?
- What is the symbolism of the word “night” in the book?
- How is Wiesel’s moral struggle an important element of Night?
- Why do you think survivors often feel guilty?
- What hints of hope does Wiesel offer us?
- Why do you think Wiesel tells his story in the first person? If Night were written in the third person, would it be more or less believable?
- Why is this book relevant today?
What Is Genocide?
The Legal Definition:
The United Nations Genocide Convention “confirms” that genocide is an international crime, which countries “undertake to prevent and to punish.” By the terms of the Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- (a) Killing members of the group;
- (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Most countries in the world, including the United States, are parties to the Convention.
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.