Research Papers on Night by Elie Wiesel

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Research Papers on Night by Elie Wiesel

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In his first book, Night, Elie Wiesel wrote of the darkness of the concentration camp universe. A young boy saw his mother and sister go up in smoke at Auschwitz:

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life. into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. 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. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.

In early 1944 camp officials converted the old Crematorium One into an air raid shelter. Crematorium Three burned down on October 7, 1944, during the Sonderkommando revolt. The SS dismantled the technical parts of Crematoria Two and Four in November 1944 and sent them to GrossRosen. Then they dynamited the buildings. Crematorium Five was burned and blown on January 20, 1945.

Auschwitz, like all Nazi camps, had a resistance movement. The most active organizers were the Communists and the Socialists. The movement took the form of an international committee led by Polish Socialist lawyer Josef Cyrankiewicz, the future prime minister of the Polish People's Republic. Two Auschwitz inmates escaped and brought with them a report from the resistance organization. The report reached government leaders of the major Allied nations. It proposed that the governments issue a warning to the Germans and the Hungarians that the Allies would take reprisals against the Germans living in their countries if the exterminations did not stop. Auschwitz and Birkenau -- particularly the gas chambers and crematoria, which were recognizable by their high chimneys -- should be bombed from the air, along with the main railroad lines. The reports should be given the widest publicity on the radio and in the newspapers so that the Nazis would know the world was informed of what they were doing. The public warnings should be repeated over and over again, and the Pope should issue a strong condemnation of the crime. After receiving the report, the Vatican began various efforts in Hungary to halt the deportations. Pope Pius XII intervened directly at one point with Horthy, the Hungarian regent, which turned out to be an ineffective move. Although public disclosure seemed the only remaining hope, the Pope decided against so firm an action.


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