Banned Book Speech: Night

Banned Book Speech: Night

Sarah Sadowsky, Writer

A piece of history is being removed from schools. How does that make you feel? Some future generations will never get to learn about horrific events that occurred years ago, but still helped shape our world to what it is today. 

The Holocaust affected millions of people around the world. Even though the events occurred more than 75 years ago, the effects of the Holocaust can still be felt today.  It is important for teachers and students to read books such as Night by Elie Wiesel and other books and stories that highlight tragic events in human history.  

This book affects me because it tells a story that I was emotionally unprepared for. Although I knew what happened in the Holocaust,  Night brought the tragedy and the suffering to a more personal level. As someone who was raised Jewish, I can look at and read this book with a different perspective. 

Night was banned in schools because of the explicit description of the Holocaust. Some people might feel uncomfortable with the very descriptive memories from Wiesel. Parents and teachers might not want to show this book to their kids, because it is something that they do not think is very important, or it is something that they do not believe in. 

The book begins in Sighet, Romania, in 1941, the beginning of World War II. Early in the book we learn that Wiesel is a very religious Jew. He wants to learn and know everything about God, and wants to become closer to him. Soon after this, Wiesel and his family get taken away to a concentration camp. Elie and his father go through unimaginable pain, and Wiesel writes about his experiences with detail. Throughout Wiesel’s experience in camps like Auschwitz and Birkenau, we slowly see him disconnect with God. He keeps praying to him and asking to be let free from the camps, and he feels as though God is not responding. Elie quickly learns that he needs to learn how to survive, in an environment where survival is almost impossible. Elie loses his family members, his faith, his personality, and more, while in the concentration camps. 

First, Night delivers a chilling description from personal experiences of the tragedies the Jewish people suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Wiesel’s personal reflections shed light on how Jewish people responded to the circumstances in the concentration camps. The only way that we can really ensure that something like this will never happen again is if we talk about it and educate the students in school about it. 

Additionally, it is important to have intelligent, educated discussions about this and all past historic events, good and bad. How can we have conversations without these books that teach us about the events? Also, if the school boards ban this book, where will it stop? What other pieces of history will be taken away from us? Novels like Night give us a glimpse into the past. These books are here to be resources, and they are not meant to be harmful in any way. 

Finally, most of the Jewish people who were taken to the concentration camps did not survive. So, with the limited stories from Holocaust survivors, it is harder for students to learn about this important piece of history. Wiesel was brought into the camp as a teenager but left as a changed man. He goes into detail about his experiences, such as the way he described his first day and night at Auschwitz. Wiesel writes about being discriminated against simply because of his race. The book, Night, gives the reader room to imagine how other people were being treated and how they felt, as well. 

In conclusion, the novel Night, by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel should not be banned in schools. It is a story that was meant to be heard, and it should not be taken away. This story is graphic and difficult to imagine at points, but it is a way to teach people about the Holocaust and how terrible it really was. The stories from the Holocaust should never go away because they are how we keep it from happening again. Night, by Elie Wiesel, is one of the important documents we have of the tragedies of the Holocaust. Teachers should be able to read this book with their students and have discussions about the human capacity for cruelty and survival. 

Thank you.