In this autobiographical account, Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel recounts his horrifying experiences at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
Holocaust survivor and storyteller Elie Wiesel is recognized as a leader in the fight for peace and human dignity.
Introduce this text before students begin reading the book, in order to provide information on Elie Wiesel as a Holocaust survivor, storyteller and leader in the fight for peace and human dignity. Ask students to take note of the events that significantly impacted Wiesel and to track any further details of these moments as they begin to read Night.
In “No Man Is an Island,” the speaker explains the interconnectedness of all humankind.
Have students read this poem after they have read Chapters 1 and 2, in order to explore the theme of collective identity and collective voice. In Donne’s poem, the speaker explains the interconnectedness of all humankind. Ask students to use their analysis of the poem to draw an interpretation of what it means for Elie to be part of a collective identity. In what ways does Elie’s community in Sighet function as a collective? Ask students to use both the book and the text to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a collective voice.
This informational text explains what the Holocaust was, who it affected, who carried it out, and how it ended.
Introduce this text before students read Chapter 3 — after Elie, his family and other Jews turn up at Birkenau — in order to provide background information on the Holocaust. Have students discuss the different factors that were behind the Holocaust. Why were Elie and his family rounded up and taken to Birkenau? What were the devastating results of the Holocaust?
The informational text “Auschwitz” details the treatment and use of prisoners in the three main Auschwitz concentration camps.
Have students read this informational text after they have read Chapter 3, and learned about Elie’s first three weeks at the camp. Introduce the text in order to provide further details on the treatment and use of prisoners in the three main Auschwitz concentration camps. Ask students to compare and contrast Elie’s personal experiences with the details in the article. What kind of details does Elie’s personal account provide? What kind of facts does the article collect that a young Elie would not have been aware of at the time?
In “I Am Offering This Poem,” a speaker offers the only thing they have: a poem and their love.
Introduce this poem after students have read through Chapter 4, in order to discuss themes of love and sacrifice through a cross-text analysis. In Baca’s poem the speaker offers the only things they have: the poem and their love. In Night, all Elie has is his father, and he gives up the only thing he has to spare his father from further beatings. Pair the book with “I Am Offering This Poem” and ask students to use the poem's imagery to compare and contrast themes on the saving grace of love. How does Elie demonstrate his love? What sacrifices does he make on the basis of the love he has for his father?
In “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers - (254),” Dickinson symbolizes hope as a bird that prevails in a storm.
Have students read this poem after they have read Chapter 5, when Elie believes he could lose his father and suffers from an infection. Encourage students to use the poetic symbolism and imagery in the poem to discuss the text. In Dickinson’s poem hope is personified as a bird that prevails in a storm. Ask students to contrast Dickinson and Wiesel’s observations on hope and adversity. Is Elie optimistic at all about his and his father’s situation? How does he manage to deal with the different circumstances he’s faced with?
“Death Marches in the Holocaust” discusses how concentration camp prisoners were evacuated and forced to walk in conditions that few were able to survive.
Introduce this text before students read Chapter 6, in order to provide context and an overview on how concentration camp prisoners were evacuated, and forced to walk in conditions that few were able to survive. Ask students to consider the thought behind the marches, as a tool to kill Jews, and contrast this information with experiences that Elie witnesses on the march from Buchenwald toward Gleiwitz. How is the march used to systematically kill many of the Jews being led toward Buchenwald?
“Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps” discusses the atrocities of Nazi concentration camps, as well as the prisoners’ eventual liberation.
Introduce this informational text before students reach Chapter 8, in order to generate a discussion on the atrocities of Nazi Concentration camps, as well as the eventual liberation of the prisoners. Ask students to compare Elie’s personal account of his liberation with this historical overview.
The “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” was adopted by the United Nations, legally defining the crime of genocide and defining the terms of its prevention and punishment for nations who chose to sign.
Share this text with students after they have completed the book, in order to generate a discussion on the legacy of the Holocaust. Have students read the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” and have students consider the aftermath of the events that took place in Night, Wiesel’s testimony, and the legacy of the Holocaust. What are the implications for those nations who adopt the United Nations and commit genocide? Would this document have made a difference in Elie’s life if it was legally adopted earlier?
In “Elie Wiesel’s ‘The Perils of Indifference’ Speech,” the Holocaust survivor discusses the consequences of acting indifferently towards the suffering of others.
Introduce this text after students have completed the book, in order to generate discussions on what lessons can be gained from the Holocaust. What are, according to Wiesel, the consequences of acting indifferently towards the suffering of others? Compare and contrast Wiesel’s speech with his views in Night. How has Wiesel’s optimism changed over the years?