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Dehumanization in The Book 'Night' by Elie Wiesel

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In the book, “Night” Elie Wiesel tells his story about a young boy that experiences loss, torture, abuse, and dehumanization. Dehumanization is when an individual is lost of the very human qualities that make them who they are, making them inhuman. These unfortunate events will alter their character and morality. This can be to blame for the animal-like treatment they receive. They turn out to be undeveloped people, with barbaric, animal characteristics that are needed for survival under these conditions.

A way they could dehumanize prisoners is shaving their hair. Hair makes you who you are and in some cases, it is what makes the person feel themselves. It would hurt women more than men because women are known for their long beautiful hair in this time period. Getting your hair shaven will give more a reason to seem like an animal. It is almost like shearing a sheep. They used to hair for clothes and wigs. Hair generally makes people feel human and taking away something that makes them feel less of themselves is wrong.

Prisoners have lived their short or long life with their name but that is how they are known to themselves and others. When prisoners arrived at the camps and if they survived selection they would be given a tattoo that would be their new “name.” This was no name in the book “Night” Eli got the number A-7713. He was no longer Eli he was his number. Taking away someone’s name will make it easier to torture enslave or kill the prisoner. Being treated like an animal or nothing at all hurt the prisoners more than anything.

The prisoners were told they were going away, like on a vacation. The prisoners packed their suitcases full of food, clothes, shoes, games, things people would bring on vacation. They soon found out that they were not heading for any vacation rather they were being sent to die or be a slave to the Nazis. They packed into cattle cars and were sent to their location. They got out and quickly got their suitcases taken away. To make things worse they were sent to selection and whoever was not fit, women, children, old, not healthy, were sent to die and the ones that stayed to work were to put on their one pair of striped clothes. The prisoners no longer had a sense of self due to the SS officers taking everything away even their gold teeth.

Although the Nazis would have disagreed, the Jews faced a lot of dehumanization such as the loss of their name, hair, and clothes, and things. The Jews struggled with many factors of suffering throughout the Holocaust in many other ways. Such as, losing their loved ones, getting separated by their loved ones, and going to a point where they mentally wish to die every day. While there were many contributions to the Jew’s suffering, dehumanization was by far one of the cruelest things the Jews had to face during World War II.

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Dehumanization In The Book ‘Night’ By Elie Wiesel. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from
“Dehumanization In The Book ‘Night’ By Elie Wiesel.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
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