Father and Son

To this day I am mourning for my father, perhaps because I didn’t mourn the day I became an orphan. The ordeals that preceded his death remain with me, in all their violence. I described them in Night: the death march to Gleiwitz, sleeping in the snow, the train journey standing up in open wagons exposed to the elements, the demented cries of the living dead before our arrival to Buchenwald. Here again, I could spend my life retelling that story. How can I silence the cries that rage within me?

The relationship of Elie and his father evolves throughout Night and it is one of the most moving father-son relationships ever portrayed. In the book Elie’s father is often his life-line; the only reason Elie does not give up and die. However, at times Elie feels that his father is a burden. Chlomo can’t march well or keep up with the others and as a consequence Elie can feel that his father is pulling him down. Elie loves his father but to survive in a concentration camp he has to concern himself with his own survival.

In the book Elie’s father physically saves him from death but Elie also saves his father several times. The last word that Elie hears from his father’s mouth is his name “Eliezer”.This is a poignant moment that shows Chlomo’s deep love for his son. Wiesel is haunted by this experience and he tells his story with the hope that no other son will ever have to go through such an experience.


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