Bre’s book shelf: terror exists in man not monsters

Breanna Roen, Opinion writer

Halloween is approaching, and this means all things spooky and scary are coming out to give us a show.

This time of nightmares come alive is many people’s favorite holiday because of the chills and fright that await them through their favorite T.V. shows, books, music and many other forms of mainstream media.

People across the world go out every Oct. 31 for delicious treats and quite the array of costumes, that range from scary ghouls or dazzling princesses. Imagine that you were forced to wear a costume that you never wanted to wear along with someone you don’t know shaving your head, getting a number tattooed onto your arm which is now your new identity, along with not being fed or provided with the necessities to live.

Is this a horror movie? No, this is Auschwitz, one of the biggest concentration camps in the world. For Elie Wiesel, author of the novel “Night” it appeared to be the most terrifying nightmare that made Halloween scares look like a fool.

In 1944, Elie Wiesel along with his mother, father and three sisters, were taken from their home and were shipped off to Auschwitz. This was the horror that the whole family knew was inevitably coming, but knew there was no way to stop it. Their primary goal from now on was to never lose each other. Unfortunately, the males and females were separated causing the family to be tragically torn apart. For many months later, Elie faced enormous struggles from trying to survive the endeavors of starvation, the brutal cold air of Auschwitz and remain under the radar from security in order to not be beaten to death from one move.

This story is one of the most tragic of its kind out there. Between family separation, hunger and purely losing the will to live, he was hoping that his life would end. At one point he even questioned his faith and God.

He describes waking up one morning and looking at a mirror for the first time since he entered Auschwitz, Wiesel coldly states, “One day when I was able to get up, I decided to look at myself in the          mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.”

I can not reveal too much else because we all know how much I hate spoiling books for other people. All I can say is, make sure to have a box of tissues next to you while reading this.

“Night” was hands down the most heart-wrenching book I have ever read. Elie Wiesel’s accounts of the concentration camp truly captures the reader’s interest, and makes him feel that they are sharing the same confined, ill-stricken corridor. There were many parts of this book that were too gruesome to read. When Elie begins to mention the conditions of the camp, it may my stomach wrap into a ball. I have always heard throughout school when learning about the holocaust that the conditions these people lived in were an absolute terror.

Hearing a first hand account of how these conditions were truly disheartens any reader and questions their will to continue reading. The only reason I traversed through this book is in hope of a miracle to happen to this young boy.

Once again, I’m not spoiling this for anyone, it’s a book that you have to pick up and find out for yourself.

The other classic holocaust story of all time, is “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I had to read this novel for my English class in middle school and never expected to find out the tragedies of the holocaust through another first hand account.

The stories share little similarity except for the fact that they both are first-hand accounts of what terrors the Holocaust brought upon them. Anne’s story is her writings from her diary about hiding from the Gestapo (Nazi police) to avoid the shipment to a concentration camp.  Elie’s story is about the torture and nightmares he endured while at Auschwitz concentration camp. These stories are both very disheartening to read and could possibly make the strongest reader cry.

I personally went through a box of tissues for Anne’s and Elie’s book. These books will truly show how thankful we need to be for our lives not being jeopardized by war and barbaric treatments.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. It’s the saddest but easily one of the greatest novels I have ever encountered in all my years of reading. It makes you regain a sense of reality and empathy for every victim and survivor of the holocaust. Elie Wiesel, passed away on July 2nd of this year at the age of 88 peacefully in his home in New York.

This Halloween, please remember there are far worse horrors than those in our favorite movies and haunted houses. Horrors we could never imagine.

Breanna Roen is an opinion writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]