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Growing up, my little sister was terrified of the dark. Every night, she would sob and sob until one of my parents checked underneath the bed and behind the armoire for monsters. Now, I was her big sister, three whole years older, and I wasn't afraid of silly things like monsters; at least, that is what I told her. In all reality, I was terrified of monsters too, but I refused to even ponder about the existence of monsters and indulge my fear. Surely something as terrible as a monster could not exist in real life.
Plato once said that we can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. In Elie Wiesel's Night, there are numerous times where the Jews of Sighet are forwarded of about the atrocities committed by the Nazi's or mention in passing Hitler's extreme hatred of the Jews - the tales of Poland told by Moishe, the account from a villager of the anti-Semitism rampant in Berlin, Germany's capital city, the closing of the synagogues and the covert gatherings in community leader's houses, the mandate that all Jews must wear a Star of David on their clothing, and, finally, the separation of Jews into ghettos. Throughout all of this, Elie's father and community was calm and passive, smug even. Although all signs pointed toward Hitler's ultimate plan of exterminating the Jews or at the very least making their lives as awful as possible, the Jews of Sighet displayed "blindness as they confronted a destiny from which they would have still had time to flee" because how could something as atrocious as soldiers using babies as target practice be true? How could someone think he could exterminate an entire race of people in the twentieth century? Surely nothing that terrible could happen in a time of airplanes, automobiles, and wireless radios.
The Jews of Sighet didn't believe it- who would want to? And even if they indul...
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