Englewood High School Courses
About Mrs. Sperry
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.)
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