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Book ReviewDespite the warnings about the Nazi’s intentions, the small town of Sighet is invaded, and Elie’s family and all of the other Jews that reside in the small town are sent to concentration camps.  Arriving at the camp, Elie is separated from his sister and his mother, yet remains with his father.  From the get-go, Elie is forced to lie about who is to survive.  He is faced with abuse, starvation, and his loss of faith in God.  Throughout the book, Elie and his father are sent to three different camps; Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald.  Before the concentration camps are liberated by the British and the American forces, Elie’s father dies.  And although Elie survives the camps, his innocence and faith in God died along with his father.  The book starts off with Elie Wiesel as a 12-year-old boy living in the small town of Sighet in 1941.  He avidly pursues Hasidic Judaism through the study of the Talmud but wants to learn Kabbalah as well.  Then comes along a poor foreign Jew by the name Moishe the Beadle.  After getting to know each other, Elie soon realizes that Moishe knows all about Kabbalah and agrees to teach him.  However, towards the end of 1941, the Hungarian police force Moishe and all of the foreign Jews from Sighet and are carted away as if they were animals.  Months later, Moishe returns and tries to warn the town of the horrors he went through after being shot and left for dead by the Gestapo.  But to his surprise, no one listened.  A couple of years pass and in the spring of 1944 the Germans arrive and control their lives through restrictions and curfew until they are loaded up onto trains.  The destination is unknown, and their lives as they know it are gone in just one train ride.In Chapter 2, the Jews of Sighet are tightly crammed in a train still not knowing where they are going.  After passing the Hungarian border, the Jews soon realize that they are now under German jurisdiction and if any of the eighty Jews on the train go missing, they will all die.  All but one person remains calm, Mrs. Schachter.  She begins to cry and scream night after night about a terrible fire.  Eventually, the people around her are fed up with the constant crying and screaming, so they beat her until she’s silent.  The next day, Mrs. Schachter screams again, but this time she’s pointing at the crematoria smokestacks through the window.  The smell of burning bodies fills the nose of everyone on board the train rendering them speechless.  They have arrived at Auschwitz.In Chapter 3, the Jews are forced to leave all of their possessions and belongings behind in the cattle car.  The men and women are then separated, and although he does not know it yet, this is the last time Elie sees his mother and his sister.  Not long after being separated, Jews are being beaten and shot left and right until all of the male prisoners form a line.  After being questioned by Dr. Mengele, the men will be separated into two groups: the first group will consist of workers; the other group will be sent to the crematorium. Wanting to survive, Elie and his father lie about their age and their profession.  Lucky enough for them, they were assigned to the labor units.  Later that day, all of the new male prisoners are beaten, unclothed, and forced to shave their heads.  They are then given striped uniforms looking less like men and more like animals.  Elie soon loses his faith in God and his identity.  He is nothing but the number forever inked on his arm.  The next day they find a relative named Stein who is asking for news about his wife and children.  After hearing the bad news, Stan goes missing and is thought to have given up hope and died.  Elie and his father receive their work orders and march through German villages until they reach Buna.In Chapter 4, Elie and his father find themselves in Buna which seems dead and empty.  Not long after being there, Elie is hassled by a dentist for the gold crown that resides within his mouth and by an assistant to a German guard who threatens him for his shoes.  Elie and his dad are assigned to work in a warehouse counting pieces of electrical equipment.  The work leader, Idek, gets frustrated one day and beats Elie.  A week later, Idek goes crazy once again and beats on Elie’s dad.  Rather than being upset with Idek, Elie is angry with his father for not avoiding him.  This is a crucial part of the story because the reader is being shown the inhumane toll the concentration camps have done to Elie.  The foreman, Franek, wants Elie’s golden crown and gets it after tormenting his father during the marches.  Later throughout the chapter, there’s an air raid, and the Allies start bombing Buna.  A week after the bombings, SS officers begin to hang those who got caught for thievery during the air raid.  Later that night, everything the Jews ate tasted of death.In Chapter 5, every Jew inside Buna but Elie celebrates Rosh Hashanah.  Elie believes that no just God would allow the death and suffering brought on by the Germans to happen.  In addition to Rash Hashanah, Elie refuses to fast on Yom Kippur.  He does this to please his father and to mock God.  Elie is transferred to the construction unit where he has to haul huge stones.  Not long after being reassigned, Elie and the other prisoners were forced to undress as Dr. Mengele, and SS officers began the selection process.  For those that didn’t pass, they were sent to the crematorium.  Elie and his dad passed the inspection and were relieved to live another day.  Winter arrives at Buna, and the prisoners get Christmas and New Year’s off.  In January, Elie’s foot swells up and is forced to see a doctor.  While in the hospital, Elie hears rumors that the Russians are near the camp and to get away from them, the Germans will evacuate the camp and kill the prisoners in the hospital.  Elie leaves the hospital only to find out that if he stayed just two days longer, he would’ve been liberated by the Russians.  The camp is evacuated, and the prisoners go off, marching in the snow.In Chapter 6, the prisoners are forced to run in the snow, and those who can’t keep up are killed by the SS officers.  While running, Elie witnesses a Rabbi and his son, in which the son leaves his father for dead.  He prays never to be so cruel to his dad.  After several hours of running, the SS officers ordered them to rest.  Elie and his father keep each other awake so that they don’t fall asleep and due to sleeping in the snow.  The next morning, the prisoners are marching once again till they get to a neighboring concentration camp in which they spend three days without food or water.  On the third day, a train arrives, and the officers have a selection before boarding the prisoners.  After Elie’s father is sent to the bad side, Elie sneaks him onto the train before being sent to die.  In Chapter 7, the train stops and the SS officers force the prisoners off the train.  Elie’s dad is thrown off after looking to be dead and is revived after Elie hit him repeatedly in the chest.  The Jews resume their journey and travel through villages for ten days.  For amusement, the German officers would throw pieces of bread in the middle of a train car and watch the prisoner tear each other limb by limb for crumbs.  Someone tries to strangle Elie during the night, but was saved by a friend of his dad’s.  On the tenth day of their journey, a cold wind blows through the train killing off the weak prisoners.  Eventually, the train arrives at Buchenwald.  Nearly a hundred prisoners got on the train, while only a dozen managed to get off.In Chapter 8, the Buchenwald camp is so overcrowded that Elie and his father weren’t able to take a shower.  They instead go to the barracks to sleep, but to Elie’s surprise, his father is nowhere to be found.  Elie wishes that his father was dead so he wouldn’t have to look for him but then immediately feels ashamed.  Elie eventually finds his father on the ground to get some coffee. Elie gives him coffee and some of his food ration.  After keeping his father alive for several days, Elie no longer thinks his dad will survive, so he takes him to the doctor.  The doctor turns him away because he is dysentery and isn’t worth treating.  An SS officer overhears Elie’s dad moaning and crying out for help, and it isn’t until later that night that Elie realizes his father was killed.In Chapter 9, the Allies are approaching the camp in an attempt to stop the Germans from killing off all the Jews.  Elie has been without his father for a few months now and can care less about what happens to him.  SS officers start evacuating the camp and will blow it up once all prisoners are removed.  Luckily for Elie and the prisoners of Buchenwald, an underground resistance gains control of the camp within a matter of a few days.  As free men, the rescued Jews stuffed themselves with so much food that some died from food poisoning.  Elie spent a few weeks recovering in the hospital and to this day sees himself as nothing but a corpse.This narrative describes the author’s experiences and the horrors he endured while being held as a prisoner at several German concentration camps.  He watched his family and friends die, and along with it was his belief in God.  If it weren’t for Elie Wiesel’s story and the many others out there, then the world itself may just as well have repeated this genocide, and I’m thankful that this terrible portion of our history is in the past and hopefully it stays there.  I would recommend this book simply because of the trials and tribulations that the author goes through to survive the Holocaust.  This is one person, one experience, and there are millions more that have endured the pain and loss of the genocide during World War II

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