In the memoir, Night, we discover how Elie Wiesel, one of the minority of Jews to survive the holocaust during World War II, identity changes in response to his concentration camp experiences. The war had been raging for two years and was about to enter Sighet. The Germans believed in the Aryan race and attempted to commit genocide on the ‘lesser’ races, particularly Jews. The separation from Elie’s loved ones and the horrible conditions of these camps affect Elie immensely.
Elie is affected in the following ways: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Through the brutality witnessed, acts of selfishness, the death of his father and the loss of his faith Elie changed. The Holocaust had changed him into a completely different person. The greatest change to Elie Wiesel’s identity was his loss of faith in god.
Before he and his family were moved to the camps, Elie was a religious little boy who cried after praying at night. After a few days in Auschwitz, a concentration camp, Elie Wiesel heard about the crematory and the fact that the Nazi’s were killing the sick, weak, and the young.
In his first night in the camp, Elie experienced his first crisis of faith. “Never Shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever… Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my god and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.”
Later, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Elie was not able to celebrate the New Year with the other Jews in the camp.
When the Rabbi said “Blessed be the name of the eternal,” Elie thought “Why, but why should I bless him?” In these quotes, Elie’s frustration and anger is directed towards god because he has no one else to blame. He is appalled by everything happening around him, and cannot believe the god he spent all his time praying to was letting this happen. Elie’s faith in god waned while he was in the camps. Since Elie used to be a religious Jewish person, losing his faith changes his identity.