“Night” is a novel by Elie Wiesel that tells the story of his experience during the Holocaust. One of the themes of the novel is dehumanization, which is the process by which people are deprived of their humanity.
Dehumanization can be seen in the way that the Nazis treat the Jews. They are treated as less than human, and are subjected to terrible conditions and atrocities. The Jews are also dehumanized by being forced to wear badges that mark them as different from other people.
Dehumanization can also be seen in the way that Elie and his fellow prisoners are treated. They are forced to do hard labor, and are given very little food or water. They are also beaten and humiliated.
The concept of dehumanization is important to understand because it can help to explain why the Holocaust happened. It also helps to explain how people can be capable of such terrible acts. Dehumanization is a process that can happen to any group of people, and it is important to be aware of it in order to prevent it from happening again.
Dehumanization occurs when an individual or society views others as less than human, which justifies their extermination. It also leads to more violence, human rights abuses, war crimes, and genocide. When intense dislike for a certain group motivates people to regard them as sub-human and subject them to bestial treatment, it may lead to classifying the rival as inhuman and meting out bestial punishment.
Dehumanization is a reoccurring theme in Night, a novel written by Elie Wiesel that tells the story of his experiences during the Holocaust. Night shows how dehumanization was used as a tool by the Nazis to control and massacre the Jewish people.
The Nazis used various methods of dehumanization such as making them wear yellow stars, depriving them of food and water, forcing them to do hard labor, and ultimately sending them to concentration and extermination camps. All of these methods served to strip the Jews of their humanity and turn them into submissive, obedient, and even animal-like beings.
One of the most striking examples of dehumanization in Night is when the Jews are forced to wear yellow stars. The Nazis required all Jews over the age of six to wear a yellow star on their clothing at all times. This was done in order to easily identify and segregate the Jews from the rest of the population. The yellow star not only served as a badge of shame, but also made the Jews feel like they were less than human. They were no longer seen as individuals, but rather as a group that was inferior to the rest of society.
Another example of dehumanization in Night is when the Jews are deprived of food and water. The Nazis deliberately starved and dehydrated the Jews in order to weaken them both physically and mentally. This made them more susceptible to obey orders and less likely to resist.
In Night by Elie Wiesel, the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis and reduced to the status of animals, subjected to severe maltreatment, and given the task of survival on a daily basis. The most frequent form of dehumanization in the book was what they were termed. They were referred to as only filth or animals. When police ordered them out of their homes and into the streets shouting “Faster! Faster! Get your lazy good-for-nothings moving!” (Wiesel 24) , they began to endure feelings of worthlessness for the first time.
They were looked down on so much that even their own kind began to see them as nothing, “We are not men anymore. We are not human beings. We are beasts…” (Wiesel 54). Even the strongest and bravest of people dehumanized themselves because they felt that is what they had become, “No one dared look at his neighbor, each feared to see himself in the other’s eyes” (Wiesel 54).
The Jews were also treated like animals, sometimes being experimented on and other times starved or frozen to death. During selections when the Nazis needed workers for a certain job, if no one stepped up, “…the SS grabbed whoever came to hand-men, women, children alike-and threw them into the selected wagon.”(Wiesel 60). They didn’t care about who they were taking, as long as they got someone.
After a while, even the Jews started to see each other as nothing but animals that were in the way or a hindrance to their own survival. “…in block after block, all you could hear was weeping, everywhere there was weeping…” (Wiesel 85). Even though they had become what their tormenters wanted them to be, some still held on and did whatever it took to stay alive and make it through another day. Night is a story of struggle and dehumanization in which no one is safe. Not even yourself.
The guards pushed them into cattle cars, robbed them of their belongings and forced them to work long hours in harsh conditions with inadequate food and water. They were beaten, robbed of their stuff, stuffed into trains without being fed or watered, and subjected to various other indignities. Any respect or value they once had was erased. The Jews were no longer addressed using their names; instead, they were given numbers that would become their “names” for the following months. Any historically significant or important surnames immediately vanished.
To the Nazis, these Jews were not human. They were lower than animals and Worthless. Dehumanization is defined as “a psychological process whereby opponents view each other as less than human and thus not deserving of moral consideration” (“Dehumanization | Beyond Intractability”). This process allows one to commit inhumane actions against others without feeling remorse because they are no longer considered people in their eyes.
While Night does an excellent job of providing first-hand accounts of the atrocities faced by Jews during the Holocaust, it also emphasizes the role that dehumanization played in making such abuse possible. Night is a story about the loss of humanity, dignity, and values. It is a story about how even the most compassionate and loving people can be turned into monsters.
One of the most striking examples of dehumanization in Night is the way in which the Nazis refer to the Jews. They are no longer called by their names; instead, they are given numbers that are their “names” for the next months. Any historical or important surnames are quickly abolished. The Jews are no longer considered human beings with dignity and worth; they are reduced to objects that can be numbered and controlled.
Another example of dehumanization in Night is the way in which the Nazis treat the Jews like animals. They are starved, beaten, and forced to live in conditions that are far below what any human being should have to endure. The Nazis even go so far as to experiment on some of the Jews, treating them like rats in a lab. The Jews are not seen as human beings with feelings and emotions; they are seen as objects that can be used and abused in any way the Nazis see fit.
The concept of dehumanization is central to Night because it is through dehumanization that the Nazis were able to commit such atrocities against the Jews. By viewing the Jews as less than human, the Nazis were able to justify their actions and make themselves believe that they were doing nothing wrong.
Dehumanization is a dangerous thing because it allows people to do things that they would never dream of doing if they still considered their victim to be a fellow human being. Night is a powerful reminder of the dangers of dehumanization and the importance of always seeing the humanity in others.