Elie Wiesel: Bearing Witness

This biography of Elie Wiesel, written by Michael Pariser, is -to be blunt- quite depressing. Among the stack of books I brought home from my school library for the holidays, it is written on a 5th grade reading level. A few years ago Elie's book Night (though originally published in 1960) received a renewal in interest from its addition to Oprah's book club. I've seen it circulating among the middle school crowd and have heard positive comments from readers of that age, but simply haven't come across the actual book to read myself. The plan was to begin with Elie's biography, and therefore have a basis of knowledge when reading his book.

The trouble is, after reading just a broad overview of the horrors that Elie experienced in a concentration camp during the Holocaust, it's going to be difficult to read his firsthand account. Infants being tossed in the air and used as target practice by Nazi soldiers, the dumping of young children-alive- into burning pits, starvation, medical experiments, the loss of family and friends are all such horrible atrocities; yet, they were a reality for the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Usually I devour books, but this one was tough to swallow. But then again, the sad part is that this wasn't a work of fiction. Horrible as it was, these terrible things happened to real people. And in the words of Elie Wiesel, "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness."