Top 5 Night quotes

  • “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.

    Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.

    Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”

    This is perhaps one of the most famous quotes from Night, in part because it’s a rare moment outside the narrative stream of Elie’s recollection of the Holocaust. Elie abandons the story for a brief while to reflect on that first night at Auschwitz when his world was utterly turned upside down. In form, this section shares a lot of similarities with the famous J’Accuse essay, written by Emile Zola in 1898. He wrote it as an open letter condemning the antisemitic and corrupt French authorities for prosecuting a young Jewish officer of treason. Elie replaces the repeating phrase “J’accuse” with the adverb “Jamais.” Similar to the essay, Elie accuses God of betraying the Jewish people, much like Emile accused the French authorities.

    The quote also introduces the theme of a spiritual crisis or loss of faith, the primary theme of the book. However, it is important to note that though Elie claims to deny the existence of God, he yet talks about the infinity of God near the end of this quote. Eliezer cannot shed his faith even though he attempts to do so.

  • “Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked.

    For more than half an hour stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed.

    Behind me, I heard the same man asking:

    “Where is God now?”

    And I heard a voice within me answer him:

    “Where is He? Here He is—He is hanging here on this gallows.”

    This quote is extracted from Elie’s recollections about his life at the Buna concentration camp. In this powerful quote, Elie describes the horrific hanging of a beautifully innocent young boy. The prisoners are forced to march past the struggling child. For Elie, this is a moment of deep spiritual crisis, as he struggles to understand how God can withstand the committal of such horrible evil acts. Elsewhere, Elie talked about how the anger he felt at God rose within his faith rather than outside of it.

  • “We were masters of nature, masters of the world. We had forgotten everything—death, fatigue, our natural needs. Stronger than cold or hunger, stronger than the shots and the desire to die, condemned and wandering, mere numbers, we were the only men on earth.

    At last, the morning star appeared in the gray sky. A trail of indeterminate light showed on the horizon. We were exhausted. We were without strength, without illusions.”

    Elie was evacuated from Buna along with the other prisoners in the middle of a night during a snowstorm. The prisoners barely had any winter clothing, in addition to being overworked and underfed. The Nazis shot any prisoner that strayed too far behind, and Elie was further hampered by his still recovering feet. In this quote, Elie beautifully describes the mental state of the prisoners during the last stretch of their horrendous march, as most of them teetering on the edge of death and several of their companions are already dead.

  • “And I was glad that Rabbi Eliahou should continue to look for his beloved son.

    And, despite myself, a prayer rose in my heart, to that God in whom I no longer believed.

    My God, Lord of the Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son has done.”

    Night is a deep examination of the father-son relationship. Elie struggles to care for his aging father in the dire conditions of the concentration camps where mere survival is a constant struggle. Initially, Elie relies on his father much like any child, but these roles begin to be reversed as they continue to be imprisoned in the concentration camps. The added responsibility of his father begins to grate on him, and he witnesses several young men abuse their fathers. Elie turns to religion in these moments as he seeks the strength to resist the changes that his cruel circumstances impose.

  • “One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto.

    From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me.

    The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.”

    The ending of Night has often been described as bleak since it doesn’t communicate any relief from being freed from the concentration camps. This is certainly a deliberate means of telling the readers that there was no real recovery from something as terrible as the Holocaust. Eliezer may as well be dead at that moment, when he has lost everything that had ever mattered to him, including his family and his faith. However, the reader may discover that Eliezer eventually reunited with two of his sisters and went on to lead a rather full life.

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