The 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.
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Even 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.
Eliezer’s teacher of Jewish mysticism, Moishe 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 Moishe for a lunatic.
A 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.
A 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.
Two 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.
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.
Eliezer’s 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.
Eliezer’s foreman at Buna. Franek notices Eliezer’s gold tooth and gets a dentist in the camp to pry it out with a rusty spoon.
A devout Jewish prisoner whose son abandons him in one of many instances in Night of a son behaving cruelly toward his father. Eliezer prays that he will never behave as Rabbi Eliahou’s son behaves.
One of Eliezer’s fellow prisoners. Zalman is trampled to death during the run to Gleiwitz.
Eliezer’s father’s friend from Buna. In the cattle car to Buchenwald, Katz saves Eliezer’s life from an unidentified assailant.
Eliezer’s 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.
Eliezer’s oldest sister.
Eliezer’s middle sister.
Eliezer’s youngest sister.