Fiction work is a form of invention by an author containing information, events, or accounts that are not real. In most cases, the works contain imaginary forms and theoretical accounts. The events, description, and observations are dependant on the author’s skill, knowledge, or creativity. On the other hand, history refers to inquired knowledge enabled by investigation on the past events or accounts and how they relate to humans. The collections, memories, organizations, discoveries and information are all based on factual happenings that occurred in record. In order to distinguish fiction from history, the credibility of the accounts and relevance of the information is scrutinized and analyzed according to comparisons of the historical happenings and the reported work through fiction. Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, is a fictional account.



            Elie Wiesel is a Jewish American professor and Romanian born. In the book Night, he shares his experience of the holocaust during the Second World War along with his father in the concentration camps of the German Nazi through a spread of over a hundred pages in length[1]. The book is a fragmented and sparse narrative showing the author’s disgust and frustration with humanity through the parent-child association with his father, as he became a resentful teenager. The book is the first of a trilogy by the author in which his personal reflections, thoughts, and view of events that occurred during the holocaust are spread out. The transition into light from darkness symbolized the coming to daylight from nightfall according to the tradition of Jews.


             At the time of the Second World War, some of the tactics employed in the concentration camps was the use of gas chambers. It was a common form of extermination used to phase out the multiple Jews and Polish descendants. Through Elie Wiesel’s experiences, it is expected to contain accounts of the gas chambers use. Instead, he omits the witnessing of such cruelty in his book. He states that indeed the Germans were responsible for executing the Jews through use of fire, throwing them into flaming ditches, yet they were alive. The acts were witnessed before the eyes of the deportees[2]. It is true that there were several accounts of differing propaganda on the execution methods such as electrocution, boiling water and gassing. The true account of gas chambers has widely been accepted and this lacks in the author’s accounts.

            In one of the recounts of the violin episode, Wiesel reflects on the death march. It occurred from Auschwitz to Buchenwald during the year 1945 in January[3] . The SS guards were known to be merciless and shot at the stragglers while shoving them on the roadsides. The inmates who survived the long journey and ordeal were bundled up in the barns, drained and in poor shape. Some died on the way while others barely survived in the encampment. Juliek, a young boy from Warsaw, was among the pile and was seen to clutch at his violin amidst the heap and pile up. He was more concerned on the state of his violin rather than the predictable situation he was in at the time. The need to understand the requirement of a violin amidst the heap of people in which case some were dead beats logic. The physical state and the journey conditions do not allow the retention of the violin.

            A point of sharp contrast is contained in the author’s description of anus mundi during the time of captivity at the barns. Wiesel leads the reader through a melancholic moment in which the inmates were distressed through the pile up of the dead, the stench emanating from the bodies and groans. Juliek’s violin is recounted to have been performing a remarkable piece of Beethoven music despite the darkness. The author describes the kind of emotions that rented the air. The lost hopes of Juliek, charred past and lost hope in the future were vented through the moments of his music and the present situation of death[4]. In this regard, it is quite critical to understand how the author uses his touch of creativity to depict the music and emotions, yet it was at the height of struggles and death.

            In the period of encampment in Buchenwald, it is said that several tens of thousands of people were sent to their deaths every single day. The author points out that ten thousand of them had to be queued each day and exterminated. He says that he was always at the last hundred among the people, near the gate. Each time they approached the last bunch; they always stopped and had them go back to their barracks. He points out that his survival was nothing short of a miracle. The number of inmates is not clearly stated despite the large population at the time. By the author’s accounts, ten thousand of them were led to death each day. This does not add up to reality as per the historical view. The number of inmates would have been wiped out in a matter of days if the accounts of the author were true.

            At Auschwitz, a recollection of the hanging incident is told by the author. Two adults were being led along with a young boy to the gallows. Upon the coercion of the boy, he refused to betray fellow inmates who were responsible for an act of sabotage. He was doing so in order to protect the inmates by giving his life. The author tells of how the three suspects were led to their execution chairs with their necks placed in the nooses of ropes. Contrast to the accounts of the young boy’s refusal to give up his fellow inmates, was the fact that he valued his life and would take any opportunity to salvage it. An act of sabotage resulted in death by hanging and he could not stand to lose his life in place of the guilty inmates.


            Night by Elie Wiesel is an informative recollection of experiences during the holocaust at the time of the Second World War by the author. His personal reflections based on humanity, lost hope and frustrations towards God on the events are shared in a creative manner meant to capture the reader’s emotion and attention towards the atrocities encountered. According to the scrutiny and analysis, the reading is not historical on an entire view. Rather, it is a fictional collection of information regarding the state of the mind of the author at the height of the holocaust. The transition to light from darkness based on traditions and event finalities are documented with characterizations, dialogues between the inmates as well as his relationship with his father.


Beevor, Antony. The Second World War. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2012.

Cockburn Alexander, “Truth and Fiction in Elie Wiesel’s Night: A Moral Fabulist,” The Palestinian Holocaust, 24 October 2014; available from http://www.shoah.org.uk/2014/10/24/truth-and-fiction-in-elie-wiesels-night-a-moral-fabulist/ accessed November 18, 2014.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006.

[1] Elie Wiesel, Night (New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006).

[2] Alexander Cockburn, “Truth and Fiction in Elie Wiesel’s Night: A Moral Fabulist,” The Palestinian Holocaust (24 October 2014; available from http://www.shoah.org.uk/2014/10/24/truth-and-fiction-in-elie-wiesels-night-a-moral-fabulist/ accessed November 18, 2014).

[3]  Antony Beevor, The Second World War (New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2012).

[4] Elie Wiesel, Night (New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006).

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