Night Questions and Answers


By Elie Wiesel

Questions and Answers

Chapter 1

1) Question: Describe Moshe the Beadle.

Answer: Moshe the Beadle is a caretaker of a synagogue in Sighet. He was Elie Wiesel’s teacher of Jewish mysticism. He was poor and livd in utter penury. Physically, he was as awkward as a clown, yet his waiflike shyness made people smile. He also had wide, dreamy eyes.

2) Question: Describe Eli Wiesel’s father. What was his occupation?

Answer: His father was a cultured man, he was rather unsentimental. He rarely displayed his feelings, not even with his family. He was more involved with the welfare of others than with that of his own kin.

3) Question: Why was Moshe the beadle important to Eli Wiesel?

Answer: He was important because he was like a role model to Eli. He was always doing and studying interesting religious things.

4) Question: How did Wiesel say he felt about the Hungarian Police?

Answer: Wiesel said he felt hatred towards the Hungarian Police.

5) Question: Who was Martha? What happened when she visited the Wiesel family in the ghetto?

Answer: Martha was a servant and when she visited the Wiesel family in the ghetto. She offered to hide them but the Wiesel family refused to hide.

6) Question: What was the setting and the year for the first section of the book? What was the world condition at the time?

Answer: The setting takes place in a small town in Transylvania called Sighet where a lot of Jews lived. The year was 1941. During that year, the Germans were taking over and the start of World War Two began.

7) What are some incidents that suggest or foreshadow the coming danger to the Sighet Jews? Why doesn’t the community believe it is a danger?

Answer: The one incident that occurs in the first section of Night is when the Hungarian takes all foreign Jews away including the narrator’s friend, Moishe the Beadle. After a bit, the Jews of Sighet eventually forget about the anti-Semitic expelling. Even after Moishe returns and tells the story of what happened in the camps he was sent to, the town judges him as a lunatic and ignores his tales. 1944 rolls around and Hungary has been taken over by Germany. The Jews of Sighet think that the anti-Semitic acts won’t reach their capital of Budapest but still, the Germans invade. Finally, they believe the foreshadowing danger.

8) Question: What are the conditions on the Jews’ train journey? How do the Jews react to Madame Schachter’s behavior? What does this reveal about human nature?

Answer: The cattle cars where jam packed, laying down was not an option, not even sitting. There was also very little air, the luckiest ones found themselves near a window. It was extremely hot in the train, and everyone was very thirsty. At first, when Madame Schachter began screaming they said she was mad, and made an attempt to calm her down. When calming her down did not succeed, a few young men forced her to sit down and then bound and gagged her. After that once she escaped, she received several blows to the head. Finally, they just decided to give up on her. This reveals that human nature is violence. When their very few attempts at getting her quiet without violence failed, they automatically resorted to using it.

9) Question: Even though it was 1944, and the Nazi extermination of the Jews had begun years earlier, the Sighet Jews had very few facts about it. Do you think it is possible in today’s world for a community to know so little, to be so unprepared? Explain.

Answer: No I don’t think it would go so unnoticed because with the technology and the improved knowledge we have, I bet we would have bee able to find out about something like this in a matter of days.

Chapter 2

1)      Question: To what did Wiesel compare the world?

Answer: ‘The world had become a hermetically sealed cattle car.’ The narrator dictates. To the Jews in the cattle car, the world was no bigger than the small transportation vehicle they were locked in.

2)      Question: What did Madame Schachter see in her vision?

Answer: Madame Schachter saw fire and flames in her vision.

3)      Question: How did the other people in the car react to Madame Schachter?

Answer: Everyone in the train was getting annoyed and exasperated with Madame Schachter. They began to hate her, because she kept screaming about her vision of flames which nobody could see.

4)      Question: Where did the train stop?

Answer: Through the windows the Jews see chimneys attached to large furnaces. There’s a smell of dying, human flesh that accompanies the horrifying sight of Birkenau.

5)      What did the Jews in the train car discover when they looked out the window?

Answer: When the Jews looked out the window, they saw a concentration camp, Auschwitz.

Chapter 3

1)      Question: When did Wiesel say the travelers left their illusions behind?

Answer: It was when they left the train at Birkenau. It meant that they had left all their cherished belongings and illusions behind them.

2)      Question: Which notorious SS officer did they meet at Auschwitz?

Answer: At Auschwitz they met a notorious SS officer named Dr. Mengele.

3)      Question: What was Elie’s main thought as the men and women were being herded from the train?

4)      Answer: Elie’s main thought throughout this third section of the book was about God. When he sees babies being burned in a crematorium of their own with a separate fiery chamber for the adults, he couldn’t figure out why God would allow it. He could not figure out why there were Jews thanking God either as some of them broke out into prayer.

5)      Question: What did Elie do when the gypsy struck his father? Why? What was his father’s response?

Answer: Elie didn’t feel or do anything because his theory is that being in the camp makes you lose the love that you originally had. He didn’t react because of the fear of being abused himself and other punishments. He was being precautious.

6)      Question: How long where Elie and his father at Auschwitz? Where did they go after that?

Answer: Elie and his father remained at Auschwitz for 3 weeks. After that, they went to Buchenwald.

Chapter 4

1)      Describe Elie’s encounter with the dentist.

Answer: Elie went to the dentist to have his gold filling removed so when he got there, he pretended to be sick so that he wouldn’t have to get it removed. The dentist then told him to come back when he was feeling better, and to not have to call him again (for him to come on his own). Elie went back later but he pretended again to get himself a few more days. The third time he went back, the dentist had been arrested and Elie got to keep his filling.

2)      Question: What were the only things in which Elie took an interest?

Answer: The only things in which Elie took an interest where the Cabbala and the Talmud.

3)      Question: How did Elie describe the men after the air raid?

Answer: After the air raid, Elie described the men as “different:.

4)      What happened to the young man from Warsaw?

Answer: A week after the bombing, Elie and the other prisoners are forced to witness the hangings of some of their fellow prisoners. One of the victims is a young man from Warsaw, who is killed because he stole items during the clean-up. As he hands, he shouts, “Long live libery! A curse upon germany!”.

5)      How did Elie say the soup tasted the night the pipel (young servant boy) was hanged?

Answer: Elie said that the soup tasted like corpses the night after the young servant boy was hanged.

6)      What events lead to the two hangings Wiesel describes? How does Wiesel feel about his evening meal after each hanging? What do his reactions suggest about how he is feeling?

Answer: The first hanging was for a man who stole from the Germans during an air raid at the camp. He was sentenced to death. The narrator commented that the supper that night tasted better than it ever had been. The next hanging explained was three people. Two of which were men and the last was only a child. As the men cried resistance with their last few breaths, the boy remained silent. When the executioners pulled the floor from under them, the men were dead within seconds. The boy though wasn’t heavy enough to die as quickly. He stayed hung there, gasping for breath. The dinner that night tasted of corpses. Both reactions to these hangings are very different. I think that what it says is that after watching the first hanging, he finds himself lucky to be alive, but after watching the child’s deathbed, he thinks that there comes a time when the Germans have crossed the line and he is disgusted.

Chapter 5

1) Question: What did the men do on the eve of Rosh Hashanah?

Answer:  NONE YET

2) Question: How did Elie feel while the others where praying?

Answer: For Elie, praying had become useless. It served no purpose what so ever. When he got off the train, and he heard the others praying the Prayer of Death “God died for me that night… So, he is distant, aloof. He is not part of this because he no longer subscribes to it.”

3) Question: What was Elie’s decision about fasting on Yom Kippur? Why did he make that decision?

Answer: His decision was that he was going to rebel against God and his religion. He was not going to fast/ He made that decision because he though, “Why should I thank you when you haven’t done anything to get us out of this mess.”

4) Question: What was Elie’s “inheritance” from his father? Why was his father giving it to him?

Answer: His inheritance was a knife and a spoon from his father. His father gave those items to him because they where all he had left, besides his son (Elie).

5)      Question: What did Elie dream of when he dreamed of a better world?

Answer: He dreamed of a universe without a bell for it was the bell that controlled everything, such as giving them orders which they had to execute without a choice. Everyone greatly despised the bell.

6)      Question: What happened to the patients who stayed in the hospital instead of getting evacuated?

Answer: The patients who stayed in the hospital were evacuated safely by Russian troops two days after the others left for another camp. “After the war, I learned the fate of those who had remained in the infirmary. They were, quite simply, liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.”(82)

7)      Question: When he arrives at Auschwitz and then at Buna, Wiesel describes scenes he will never forget. What scenes, ideas, or feelings from the memoir do you find unforgettable?

Answer: There where many scenes, ideas and feelings from his memoir which I found unforgettable. Firstly, I will never forgot how Wiesel described him and his father walking up to the crematorium. I was actually scared for him reading this. Surely I thought, one of them was going to die. I can’t image what he must have felt like, to almost want to kill himself. Another thing that stays in my mind is the description of the little boy who was hung. He didn’t even weigh enough to die instantly, and it took a good length of time before he died. I also cannot image how it must have felt, to watch this poor little boy suffer for such a great deal of time, awaiting his death. Lastly, I will always remember the scene where Mrs. Schächter was going crazy in the train. It seemed as if she could tell the future, or envision where their future lay. It really makes me wonder how she was able to tell, that there would be fire and flames.

8)      Question: Describe the conditions first at the Birkenau reception center, then at Auschwitz, and later at Buna. How does Wiesel’s relationship with his father change during this time?

Answer: The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah has arrived at the end of the summer of 1944. This is a time where the Jews fast for their God. Some of them are torn about whether or not they should stop eating because maybe if they stop it could lead to death. There were still Jews who decided that they would come together to pray, praise and celebrate their God. Although for Elie, he wants nothing to do with praising God. He can no longer find a reason to continue praying to God considering the amount of chaos that is around him. Elie then comes to think that man is stronger than God because they are more resilient and forgiving. Elie’s religious views have been changed drastically since captivity began. In the beginning he prayed to God and praised His name. But after seeing all the torture and murder in the camps, he cannot even find a single reason any more to praise His name.

9)      What are some ways that Wiesel and the other Jews at the camps try to observe their religion? How have Wiesel’s feelings about God changes since his captivity began?

Answer: NONE YET

Chapter 6 – 9

1)      Question: While running, an idea began to fascinate Elie. What was the idea? What kept him from carrying out his idea?

Answer: While running, Elie was fascinated by the idea of dying. The only thing that stopped him was his father’s presence. “The idea of dying, of ceasing to be, began to fascinate me. To no longer exist. To no longer feel the excruciating pain on my foot. To no longer feel anything, neither fatigue nor cold, nothing. To break rank, to let myself slide to the side of the road. My father’s presence was the only thing that stopped me.” (86)

2)      Question:  What happens between Rabbi Eliahou and his son? What did Elie realize about Rabbi Eliahou and his son?

Answer: The Jews were on a forced march and were shot down by the SS if they were to slow down or stop. They were all in bad health conditions and were on the brink of exhaustion. There was a man and his son in this running march. The son abandoned his father when it looked as though his father, Rabbi Eliahou, would not make it. Elie watched that and desperately hopes that he wouldn’t be like the Rabbi’s son. He realizes that he and his father might be put into the same situation.

3)      Question:  What does Wiesel’s reaction to this incident reveal about his relationship with God?

Answer: NONE YET

4)      Question:  What was the name of the camp to which the men walked?

Answer: The name of the camp to which the men walked was Gleiwitz.

5)      Question:  Describe Elie’s meeting with Juliek.

Answer: Elie’s meeting with Juliek is one of panic, disorder and chaos. After just arriving at the new concentration camp after walking in the freezing cold for what seemed like forever, everyone was in a hurry to seek warmth. There was a stampede of people entering the camp, and both Elie and Juliek got trampled in the process. Neither of the boys could breathe very well, and Juliek was worried that his violin may break. When Juliek frees himself, he begins to play his violin for the dead, and those in the process of dying.

6)      Question:  Who was Meir Katz? What happened to him?

Answer: NONE YET

7)      Question:  What happened to Mr. Wiesel, Elie’s father?

Answer: Mr. Wiesel got very sick and Elie wanted to take care of him, one day Mr. Wiesel wanted water and called to Elie to get him some but an SS officer didn’t like it so he beat him. Mr. Wiesel’s last word was “Elie” but Elie ignored him and went to bed. When he woke up he found that a new sick person lay in his father’s cot, and that they must have taken him to the crematorium.

8)      Question: What was Elie’s only desire?

Answer: Elie’s only desire was to eat and only eat. “I spent my days in total idleness, with only one desire: to eat. I no longer thought of my mother or my father.”

9)      Question: Why do Wiesel and his father leave Buna? How do they respond to the circumstances of the forced march?

Answer: Wiesel and his father leave Buna because the SS have sent them on a forced march. Together, they respond to the long, exhausting march by making sure that together they could make it through. The two decided that they were still going to try for life no matter what. They knew that without the other, both would be dead.

10)  Question: How does Wiesel’s link to his father affect his will to survive?

Answer: NONE YET

11)  Question: Given their life or deal situation, do you believe Wiesel’s attitude towards his father was understandable? Explain your reactions.

Answer: Given the life or death situation, I think that Elie’s reaction to wanting to keep the food to him instead of giving it to his sick father is both understandable and astonishing. It’s understandable because they both are facing death and it seemed like his father had just given up, and then to have to give him food that he could use to stay alive seems like a waste of food. But it is also astonishing because this is his father. I would like to think that if I were put into that situation I’d give my father the food without question but I don’t know truly how difficult it must’ve been for Elie.

12)  Question: What happened on April 10, 1945?

Answer: On April 10th 1945, the underground resistance of the camp put up a fight against the SS and took control of the camp. Buchenwald was then liberated by the allied forces.

13)  Question: Wiesel believes that remembering the Holocaust will help to ensure that this type of atrocity does not occur in the future. Do you think learning about the historical events can guide people to behave differently?

Answer: I think that historical events can guide people to behave differently because look back on past occurrences, and there would be people who find that the happenings of the Holocaust and other wars and events simply unbelievable. Their perspective on life changes from before. In that happening, they could convince another about their new outlook on life and in doing so has the butterfly affect. It also helps to look back on historical events so that people don’t make the same mistakes as we’d done in the past. Sometimes it doesn’t always work but there would be a better chance of not making the same mistake if the person knew of what could happen from the past.