One of Wiesel's strengths in Night is to show the full face of dehumanization. It is something that the Nazis perpetrated against the people they imprisoned. The tattooing of numbers on the prisoners, something that Eleizer notes, is of extreme importance. A- 7713 is by definition an example of dehumanization because it robs the humanity of the individual. The abuses that the Nazis perpetrate on their prisoners is another example of dehumanization. The public beatings, the hanging of prisoners and making others walk past them, as well as the selection process are all examples of dehumanization. When Eliezer has to run at full speed to avoid being noticed during one of the selection processes, it is a reminder as to how large a role dehumanization played in the Holocaust. Even in actions that the Nazis took towards Jewish people prior to extermination, dehumanization is evident. The forced wearing of the Yellow Star and the movement into the ghettos are all examples of dehumanization that the Nazis perpetrated.
I would also suggest that Wiesel shows the true horror of dehumanization to impact the relationships between Jewish people. Wiesel makes the claim that the terror of the Holocaust existed in how everyone dehumanized one another. Moshe the Beadle is dehumanized by the people of Sighet. When he comes back to tell them what he experienced, he is dehumanized in the way he is discredited and shunned. Moshe the Beadle represents dehumanization in the treatment he receives. This process continues in the train when the men on the train beat up Madame Schächter. When she exclaims that she sees fire, she is not validated or heard. Rather, she is told to "shut up" and then forcibly beaten into silence. Once again, dehumanization is evident in how victims of evil treat one another. Throughout the camps, examples of children abandoning parents, people betraying one another, and internal aloneness dominating human actions until survival is all that remains are examples of dehumanization in the narrative. These examples show that the Holocaust happened because individuals dehumanized one another. In seeing human beings as less than human beings, individuals were able to treat one another with a lack of dignity and voice. Wiesel's work reminds us that anytime voice is silenced, dehumanization is the result. This becomes its own end that must be stopped at all costs.
Elie Wiesel’s Night is about what the Holocaust did, not just to the Jews, but also by extension, to humanity. People all over the world were devastated by this atrocious act, and there are still people today who have not overcome the effects. One example of the heinous acts of the Germans that stands out occurs at the end of the war, when Wiesel and the rest of the camp of Buna are being forced to transfer to Gleiwitz. This transfer is a long, arduous, and tiring journey for all who are involved. The weather is painfully cold, and snow fell heavily; the distance was greater than most people today will even dream of walking. The huge mass of people is often forced to run, and if one collapses, is injured, or simply can no longer bear the pain, they are shot or trampled without pity. An image that secures itself in Wiesel’s memory is that of the Rabbi Eliahou’s son leaving the Rabbi for dead. The father and son are running together when the father begins to grow tired. As the Rabbi falls farther and farther behind his son, his son runs on, pretending not to see what is happening to his father. This spectacle causes Wiesel to think of what he would do if his father ever became as weak as the Rabbi did. He decides that he would never leave his father, even if staying with him would be the cause of his death.
The German forces are so adept at breaking the spirits of the Jews that we can see the effects throughout Wiesel’s novel. Wiesel’s faith in God, above all other things, is strong at the onset of the novel, but grows weaker as it goes on. We see this when Wiesel’s father politely asks the gypsy where the lavoratories are. Not only does the gypsy not grace his father with a response, but he also delivers a blow to his head that sent him to the floor. Wiesel watches the entire exhibition, but does not even blink. He realizes that nothing, not even his faith in God, can save him from the physical punishment that would await him if he tried to counterattack the gypsy. If the gypsy’s attack had come just one day earlier, Wiesel probably would have struck back. However, the spiritual beating by the Germans had already begun. The incident that perhaps has the greatest effect on Wiesel is the hanging of the pipel. He is a young boy with an “innocent face” who is condemned to death because he is involved in a conspiracy that results in the destruction of a German building.
When the time for the hanging approaches, the Lagerkapo refuses to kick out the chair, so SS officers are assigned to do it. Unlike the necks of those he is hanged with, the young boy’s neck does not break when he falls, and he suffers for over half an hour. The suffering of the child is comparable to the suffering endured by many Jews during the Holocaust. He fought for his life, at times even seeing a bit of hope, only to be destroyed in the end. The Jews struggled for everything they had, from their possessions at the beginning, to their lives at the end. The result, however, was the same. At the end of the war, Wiesel looks into the mirror, and says he saw a “corpse.” This “corpse” is Wiesel’s body, but it has been robbed of its soul. This is similar to the loss suffered by people all over the world. Those not directly killed during the Holocaust were still alive physically, but their mind and spirit had long been dead. By the end of the war, Wiesel loses all of his faith in God and his fellow man, and this is the most difficult obstacle to overcome when he is released.