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Elie WieselElie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet. Sighet was a small town in Transylvania that was then part of Romania but became part of Hungary in 1940. Today Sighet is again part of Romania. (See the red dot on the current map of Europe.)Map of Europe

Elie and his family spoke Yiddish at home, but they read newspapers and conducted their grocery business in German, Hungarian, and Romanian. Other languages including Ukrainian and Russian were also spoken in the town.

Elieís father, Shlomo, was very involved with the Jewish community. Elie studied traditional Jewish texts when he was a child and a teenager: the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), the Talmud (Jewish law), and even the very difficult texts of the Cabbala.

Until 1944, the Jews of Hungary were relatively unaffected by Hitlerís actions in other parts of Europe against Jews. In March of 1944, however, even the Jews of Hungary became part of Hitlerís ďFinal Solution.Ē His solution to the problem of having differences with Jewish people, gypsies, homosexuals, and others was to kill them. Hitler had more than six million people killed.
In the spring of 1944, members of the Hungarian Jewish community, the only remaining large Jewish community in continental Europe, were sent to concentration camps in Germany and Poland. Eventually, the Nazis murdered 560,000 Hungarian Jews, most of the prewar Jewish population in Hungary. In Elieís town of Sighet, out of 15,000 individuals, only some members of fifty families survived.

Night is the true story written by Elie Wiesel about when he (a fifteen-year-old), his family and many Jewish people of Sighet were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. Auschwitz was the site of more than 1,300,000 Jewish deaths. Wieselís father, mother, and little sister all died in the Holocaust. Wiesel himself survived to tell the story and moved to France. Later, he moved to the United States, and in 1963, Elie became an American citizen.

Night shows how a Jewish boy who experiences terrible events comes to question the existence of God and the goodness of humans.



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