The delineation of human life is perceiving existence through resolute contrasts. The difference between day and night is defined by an absolute line of division. For the Jewish culture in the twentieth century, the dissimilarity between life and death is bisected by a definitive line - the Holocaust. Accounts of life during the genocide of the Jewish culture emerged from within the considerable array of Holocaust survivors, among of which are Elie Wiesels Night and Simon Wiesenthals The Sunflower. Both accounts of the Holocaust diverge in the main concepts in each work; Wiesel and Wiesenthal focus on different aspects of their survivals. Aside from the themes, various aspects, including perception, structure, organization, and flow of arguments in each work, also contrast from one another. Although both Night and The Sunflower are recollections of the persistence of life during the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel and Simon Wiesenthal focus on different aspects of their existence during the atrocity in their corresponding works.
Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, wrote Night with the notion for society to advance its understanding of the Holocaust. The underlying theme of Night is faith. Elie Wiesel, for the majority of this work, concerns the faith and survival of his father, Chlomo Wiesel. The concept of survival intertwines with faith, as survival is brought upon Elies faith in his father. Both Elie and Chlomo are affected in the same manner as their Jewish society. The self-proclaimed superman race of the German Nazis suppress and ultimately decimate the Jewish society of its time. Elie and Chlomo, alongside their Jewish community, were regarded as subhumans in a world supposedly fit for the Nazi conception. The oppression of Elie and Chlomo begins in 1944, when the Germans constrain the Jews of Sighet into two ghettos. During the time of Nazi supremacy, Elie and Chlomo are forced to travel to various concentration camps, including Birkenau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald.
The determining concern of survival confronts both Elie and Chlomo throughout Night. The concept of survival is illustrated by the complications brought upon Elie and Chlomo. Elie and Chlomo believe they could only survive the concentration camps with one another; the father-and-son link was held together for the survival of each other. One complication in particular, was the instance when the SS officers separate Chlomo from Elie during a selection at Gleiwitz, as it was [t]he weak, to the left; those who could walk well, to the right. My father was sent to the left (Wiesel 91). Elie, fearing separation from his father, tries to overcome this problem by running after him. However, with several SS officers running toward Elie in order to constrain him, many people from the left were able to come back to the right and among them, my father and myself (Wiesel 91). Elies act of improvisation allowed him to remain alongside his father.
The raw act of survival itself confronted both Elie and Chlomo several times in Night. At one point during the march to Gleiwitz, the mass was allowed to rest. However, if the victims were not ready to form their ranks, the SS officers would shoot the resting bodies to death. To overcome this complication for survival, Chlomo decides that Elie should sleep, while Chlomo would awaken him when ranks were to be formed. Elie refused, while [his] father ... was gently dozing. ... [He] could not see his eyes (Wiesel 85). Elie, attentive during this time, was able to awaken his father in order to form ranks. The tactic to watch his father sleep allowed both victims to form ranks upon the SS officers commands; thus, Elie and Chlomo overcame their difficulty of sleep and death.
The concept of survival advances Elie Wiesels theme of Night faith. The process of surviving alongside his father allows Elie to bury faith in his very fathers existence. The most significant event in Night is when Elie injects faith into his father, even though he renounces his faith in God. During his first night at Birkenau, Elie states, 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 forgot those moments which murdered