narrator of Night
and the stand-in for the memoir’s
author, Elie Wiesel. Night
traces Eliezer’s psychological
journey, as the Holocaust robs him of his faith in God and exposes
him to the deepest inhumanity of which man is capable. Despite many tests
of his humanity, however, Eliezer maintains his devotion to his
father. It is important to note that we learn Eliezer’s last name
only in passing, and that it is never repeated. His story—which
parallels Wiesel’s own biography—is intensely personal, but it is
also representative of the experiences of hundreds of thousands
of Jewish teenagers.
in-depth analysis of Eliezer.
though he is the only character other than Eliezer who is present
throughout the memoir, Eliezer’s father is named only once, at the
end of Night.
Shlomo is respected by the entire
Jewish community of Sighet, and by his son as well. He and Eliezer
desperately try to remain together throughout their concentration camp ordeal.
Moshe the Beadle
Eliezer’s teacher of Jewish mysticism, Moshe is
a poor Jew who lives in Sighet. He is deported before the rest of
the Sighet Jews but escapes and returns to tell the town what the
Nazis are doing to the Jews. Tragically, the community takes Moshe
for a lunatic.
in-depth analysis of Moshe the Beadle.
Jewish Holocaust victim who gradually loses his faith in God as
a result of his experiences in the concentration camp.
A Jewish woman from Sighet who is deported in the
same cattle car as Eliezer. Madame Schächter is taken for a madwoman
when, every night, she screams that she sees furnaces in the distance.
She proves to be a prophetess, however, as the trains soon arrive
at the crematoria of Auschwitz.
young musician whom Eliezer meets in Auschwitz. Juliek reappears
late in the memoir, when Eliezer hears him playing the violin after
the death march to Gleiwitz.
Tibi and Yosi
brothers with whom Eliezer becomes friendly in Buna. Tibi and Yosi
are Zionists. Along with Eliezer, they make a plan to move to Palestine
after the war.
Dr. Josef Mengele
When he arrives at Auschwitz, Eliezer encounters
the historically infamous Dr. Mengele. Mengele was the cruel doctor
who presided over the selection of arrivals at Auschwitz/Birkenau.
Known as the “Angel of Death,” Mengele’s words sentenced countless
prisoners to death in the gas chambers. He also directed horrific
experiments on human subjects at the camp.
Kapo (a prisoner conscripted by the Nazis to police other prisoners)
at the electrical equipment warehouse in Buna. Despite the fact
that they also faced the cruelty of the Nazis, many Kapos were as cruel
to the prisoners as the Germans. During moments of insane rage,
Idek beats Eliezer.
foreman at Buna. Franek notices Eliezer’s gold tooth and gets a
dentist in the camp to pry it out with a rusty spoon.
devout Jewish prisoner whose son abandons him in one of many instances
of a son behaving cruelly toward his father.
Eliezer prays that he will never behave as Rabbi Eliahou’s son behaves.
of Eliezer’s fellow prisoners. Zalman is trampled to death during
the run to Gleiwitz.
father’s friend from Buna. In the cattle car to Buchenwald, Katz
saves Eliezer’s life from an unidentified assailant.
relative from Antwerp, Belgium, whom he and his father encounter
in Auschwitz. Trying to bolster his spirit, Eliezer lies to Stein
and tells him that his family is still alive and healthy.