Vocabulary from Preface/Foreword/Beginning of Chapter 1:
1. Iniquity (noun): immoral or grossly unfair behavior
2. Martyrdom (noun): the death or suffering of a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs
3. Abomination (noun): a thing that causes disgust or hatred
4. Inconceivable (adj): not capable of being imagined or grasped mentally
5. Passivity (noun): accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance
6. Voracious (adj): wanting or devouring great quantities of something (most often food)
7. Interlocutor (noun): a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation
8. Surname (noun): last name; the name borne in common with family members
9. Penury (noun): a state of extreme poverty or destitution
10. Waif (noun): a homeless child, especially one forsaken or orphaned
11. Edict (noun): a formal or authoritative proclamation; a legally binding command or decision

Activity 1: Terminology Related to the Holocaust. [PDF]

Below is a list of words related to the study of The Holocaust. Use your prior knowledge to complete this activity and a dictionary if necessary.




death Camp







labor camp




roll call





The Holocaust

yellow star

1. ______________________ a concentration camp built solely for murdering thousands of Jews.

2. ______________________ Hitler’s word for the superior race of people.

3. ______________________ the murder of over 6 million Jews in Europe in the 1930s & 1940s.

4. ______________________ a Jewish holy leader.

5. ______________________ a Jewish place of worship.

6. ______________________ kicking a person out of his/her homeland to go to another location.

7. ______________________ a small quantity of food (or any product) given out a little at a time.

8. ______________________ one who takes care of a Jewish house of worship.

9. ______________________ a concentration camp where Jews and other prisoners worked as slaves.

10. ______________________ the murder of an entire group or race of people.

11. ______________________ a small neighborhood shut off from the rest of a town.

12. ______________________ a prisoner in a concentration camp who bossed or controlled the other prisoners.

13. ______________________ the Nazi technique of choosing the young and healthy to live and the sick and weak to die.

14. ______________________ a huge destruction by fire.

15. ______________________ place where gassed victims’ bodies were burned into ashes.

16. ______________________ a political party that believes government should control peoples’ lives and people should live to serve their country.

17. ______________________ the Jewish holy book.

18. ______________________ location of most of the Nazis’ death camps.

19. ______________________ badge the Nazis ordered all Jews to wear on their clothes.

20. ______________________ the Nazis special security force which carried out Hitler’s worst orders.

21. ______________________ in a concentration camp each day the Jews would gather group by group together to be counted.

Vocabulary Terms to Know


Prejudice against all Jews.


Hitler's word for a superior race of people.


One who takes care of a Jewish house of worship.


The study of Jewish holy writings based on mysticism.


A place where gassed victims’ bodies were burned into ashes.


Forcibly removing a person out of his/her homeland to go to another location.


The murder of an entire group or race of people.


A small neighborhood shut off from the rest of a town.


A huge destruction by fire.


A prisoner in a concentration camp who bossed or controlled the other prisoners.


The belief that understanding of God comes through love and mediation.


An anti-Semitic riot directed against Jews and Jewish interests.


A Jewish holy leader.


A Jewish house of worship.

The Holocaust

The murder of over 6 million Jews in Europe in the 1930s & 1940s.


The belief that Jews should have their own homeland.


Question on the Preface and Foreword of Night. [PDF]

1. What is the central question that Elie Wiesel attempts to answer in the forward to Night?

2. According to Elie Wiesel’s preface to Night, why did he survive?

3. As a witness to the Holocaust, what does Wiesel say he is morally obligated to do?

4. What language did Wiesel use to compose his memoir Night?

5. When Wiesel first presented his manuscript to publishers, how was it received?

6. Wiesel explains that Night was originally longer and began with cynical musings. What did the original manuscript say about faith, trust, and illusion?

7. Wiesel also recounts that his father’s death scene in the original manuscript was longer and Wiesel includes an excerpt in the preface. What does this except reveal about Wiesel’s character and human nature in general?

8. For what will Wiesel never forgive himself? Why?

9. The original version of Night closed with Wiesel looking back on the world ten years after the end of World War II. What does Wiesel say he realized at that time?

10. What does Wiesel say about “those who kept silent yesterday”?

11. What role did Mauriac have in the publication of Night?

12. What is the main purpose that Mauriac attempts to convey in his foreword?


Night Study Guide

Chapter 1, Part A [PDF]

  1. _____________________________ is the name of Eliezer’s town.
  1. List the six members of Elie’s family.
  1. How does Eliezer’s father disappoint Eliezer?
  1. Moche the Beadle tells Eliezer: “Man questions God and God answers.  But we don’t understand his answers….  I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask him the right questions….  There are a thousand and one gates leading into the orchard of truth.  Every human being has his own gate.  We must never make the mistake of wanting to enter the orchard by any gate but our own.”  Explain why Eliezer goes to Moche the Beadle.
  1. Why was Moche the Beadle expelled by the Hungarian Police?
  1. List three of the horrors Moche witnessed.
  1. Why was Moche able to escape?
  1. How do Eliezer and the other Jews of the town react to Moche’s stories?
  1. In the spring of 1944 the Jews of Sighet hear about how the Russians are defeating the Germans.  Spring is always a time of __________________ or a symbol of _______________________.
  1. The Jews of Sighet say about Hitler, “Was he going to wipe out a whole people?  Could he exterminate a population scattered throughout so many countries?  So many millions!  What methods could he use?  And in the middle of the twentieth century!”  Explain how the Jews of Sighet react to the threat from Hitler.
  1. Elie suggests to his father that they emigrate to Palestine.  What reason does his father give to stay in Hungary?
  1. Once the German  troops enter Hungary, what bad news comes from Budapest about treatment of the Jews?

Chapter 1, Part B

  1. Give two reasons the Jews gave to pretend to remain hopeful even after the German soldiers arrived in their town.
  1. Wiesel writes, “The Germans were already in the town, the Fascists were already in power, the verdict had already been pronounced, yet the Jews of Sighet continued to smile.”  This literary technique, pointing out the Jews’ opposite reaction to the threat facing them, is called _______________________.
  1. The Germans change the Jews’ lives bit by bit, day by day.  Put these decrees in the proper order:

    ____ all Jews must wear a yellow star

    ____ Jews are not allowed to leave their houses

    ____ Jews can no longer go to restaurants

    ____ the synagogues are closed

    ____ the leaders of the Jewish community are arrested

    ____ Jews can no longer keep gold or jewels

    ____ all Jews had to move into a ghetto

      4.  Wiesel writes, "“It was neither German nor Jew who ruled the ghetto—it was illusion."” This literary technique of making something that is not human seem to do something human, like an illusion ruling over others, is called ______________________.

      5.  Eliezer's father, Cholom Wiesel, announces to the family that they are going to be deported, probably to work in factories somewhere in Hungary. But then the family has two changes to escape. What are they?

6. Eliezer watches his fellow townspeople with these words, They were by, fallen, dragging their packs, dragging their lives, deserting their homes, the years of their childhood, cringing like beaten dogs. What poetic technique is used in the last three words in this quotation?

7. Describe Eliezer's feelings toward the Hungarian police. [Remember, these are Hungarians, his fellow countrymen, not the German Nazis.]

8. Why do Eliezer and his older sisters not take the opportunity to escape?

9. Wiesel writes, "The town seemed deserted. Yet our friends of yesterday were probably waiting behind their shutters for the moment when they could pillage our houses." What is your own opinion of Eliezer's Christian neighbors in Sighet?

10. Summarize the conditions in the cattle cars making up the train to take the Jews away.


Chapter 2 [PDF]

1. Describe the horrible conditions aboard the train.

2. Explain the line, "Our eyes were opened, but too late."”

3. Why did Madame Schacter cry out?

4. How do her fellow passengers eventually treat Madame Schacter?

5. List three lies the Jews were told about the concentration camp Auschwitz.

6. The train arrives at last at Birkenau/Auschwitz and the Jews learn the truth. Describe three horrors they immediately encounter on arrival there.


Chapter 3, Part A [PDF]

Barracks: very simple buildings without furniture, used to house soldiers or prisoners.
Block: another word for barracks or a group of barracks.

1. The Jews leave their possessions behind as they leave the train. The orders are, “Men to the left! Women to the right!” What do you suppose happened to Eliezer’s mother and his little sister Tzipora?

2. What lies were Eliezer and his father warned to tell the SS officers?

3. Who is Dr. Mengele? What does he do?

4. As the Jewish men marched toward the flames, Eliezer remembers Madame Schacter’s screams on the train. What literary technique is it to give a hint or clue about what is going to happen later?

5. Using repetition Wiesel tells us, “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night.” Night is the title of this book. What can night symbolize? Make guesses if you need to.

6. In the camp, the Jews are dehumanized, that is, they are made less than human and stripped of their human dignity. Put these dehumanizing events that happened to Eliezer and his fellow Jewish prisoners in the correct order.

____ the men’s hair is all cut off

____ the Jews had to run naked from their barracks

____ the men had to strip off all their clothes

____ Eliezer sees their sense of self-preservation & self-defense has deserted them

____ all the men were given a hot shower

____ the men had to dress in new prison uniforms

____ the strongest men were taken to work at the crematory ovens

7. Wiesel describes himself with these words, “I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it.” How would you paraphrase his thoughts? Put them into your own words. Start with: Eliezer tells us that he…


Night, Chapter 3, Part B

Gypsies: a homeless ethnic group in Europe whom the Nazis hated.
Remorse: the feeling of regret for doing something wrong.
Humane: like a human should be, kind and good.
Transport: a train, ship, or truck carrying people or goods.
Job: a man from the Bible who suffers & suffers but does not lose his faith in God.

1. Summarize the SS officer’s instructions to the new prisoners.

2. How do you feel about Eleizer’s reaction to his father’s beating? Study his remorseful thoughts carefully.

3. Explain the irony of the words, “Work is Liberty” over the gates of Auschwitz.

4. What single factor does the kindly Kapo suggest all the prisoners follow to survive?

5. Record Eliezer’s new ‘name’ ________________________

6. What was the prisoners’ typical ration of food?

7. The Wiesels’ cousin Stein says, “The only thing that keeps me alive is that Reizel and the children are still alive. If it wasn’t for them, I couldn’t keep going.” Eliezer had told Stein that Stein’s family was doing well. But one day a transport arrives and Stein is never seen again. Eliezer reports, “He had had news. Real news.” What do you suppose was the real news Stein learned from the new prisoners on the transport and then what do you suppose Stein did?

8. All allusion is a reference to some person, event, or place from literature or mythology or history. In describing God’s injustice to the Jews, Eliezer makes an allusion to whom? _____________________

9. What do Eliezer and his father both pretend to believe to keep up their spirits?


Night, Chapter 4 [PDF]


Himmler: one of the highest ranking Nazis, who organized the genocide of the Jews

Oberkapo: the word for a chief kapo who is a prisoner in charge of the other kapos

Gallows: a structure used for handing people

  1. Eliezer is forced to give up his shoes. What else do other prisoners and guards want to remove from him?
  2. Eliezer becomes friendly with some other Jews including Juliek from Poland. What is Juliek’s career?
  3. Why did the French girl pretend to be Aryan and speak no German?
  4. Dehumanized means to become less than a human being. Elie gives an example of how he has become dehumanized and writes, “That is what concentration camp life had made of me.” What had he done that makes him feel bad about himself?
  5. Why does Idek the Kapo, who has a furious temper, whip Eliezer 25 times?
  6. The Jews are glad when their camp is being bombed during an air raid. Why?
  7. The Jews must watch the execution (called a ceremony) of a prisoner who tired to steal some soup. Juliek says, “Do you think the ceremony’ll be over soon? I’m hungry.” Later Eliezer says, “I remember I found the soup excellent that evening.” Explain what these statements tell us about Juliek and Eliezer. [Hint: use the word dehumanized in your explanation.]
  8. Eliezer and the other prisoners witness another execution of a pipel (young boy) involved in sabotage against the SS. That night, Wiesel writes, “The soup tasted of corpses.” Explain what he means or how he feels by this statement.


Night, Chapter 5A [PDF]


Rosh Hashanah The Jewish New Year. [The Jewish calendar pre-dates the Christian calendar and the

new year according to the Jewish calendar falls in September.]

Yom Kippur The Day of Atonement. Jews traditionally fast from sundown to sunup to honor this

solemn holiday. Jews are meant to contemplate their lives, atone for their sins, and reflect on this holy day.

Atonement To try to make up for sins.

Fast To go without food, usually for religious reasons on a holy day.

Notorious Famous, but for bad things.

Kaddish A Jewish prayer for the dead.

Questions for 5A

  1. As the last day of the Jewish year comes, the prisoners wonder if it will be their last year alive. At this time, what one word describes Eliezer’s feelings toward God?
  2. Give three reasons Eliezer has for not wanting to bless God.
  3. Why does Eliezer’s father, Chlomo Wiesel, not want his son to fast during the holy day of Yom Kippur?
  4. It is ironic that many prisoners feel they need to atone for their sins. Explain the irony.
  5. What advice does the head of Eliezer’s block give to the men about how to act during selection?
  6. When the SS doctors write down Chlomo Wiesel’s numer, what does Eliezer’s father believe will happen to him?
  7. When the prisoner Akiba Drumer finally says, “How can I believe, how could anyone believe, in this merciful God?” and loses his faith in God, what actually happens to him?


Night, Chapter 5B


Dysentery a disease that causes abdominal swelling and then death if untreated

Invalid a sick person

Fortnight two weeks (fourteen nights)

Red Army the communist army of Russia, the enemy of the Germans

Morphine a drug that takes away pain

Infirmary a small hospital

Questions for 5B

  1. List three positive things Eliezer discovers about staying in the hospital.
  2. There is a rumor that the Red Army is near the camp and will soon set the prisoners free as the Germans retreat. Eliezer calls the rumor, “an injection of morphine.” Explain why this quotation about the rumor is a metaphor.
  3. Why does the sick man in the hospital tell Eliezer that he has more faith in Hitler than in anyone else?
  4. All the prisoners in the whole camp are going to be evacuated (taken away) except the patients in the hospital. Which is better, to go with the other prisoners or to stay behind in the hospital? If you were there with Eliezer and his father, what would you tell them to do? Why?
  5. Eliezer and his father made the wrong choice. How do we know it was wrong?
  6. What is the ridiculous reason for cleaning out the entire prison blocks before leaving the camp?

Night, Chapter 6

  1. Any Jewish prisoner who could not keep up on the march was shot by an SS officer. What else leads to deaths?
  2. For what one reason does Eliezer not just give up?
  3. Eliezer’s father wakes him up to save him from what?
  4. Eliezer sees exhausted men frozen to death all around him. Wiesel writes, “I was walking in a cemetery, among stiffened corpses, logs of wood.” But it is not really a cemetery and the corpses are not really logs of wood. What literary technique is it to make a comparison such as this?
  5. Wiesel reports, “All around me death was moving in, silently, without violence. It would seize upon some sleeping being, enter into him, and consume him bit by bit.” What literary technique is this to describe death as if it were a human being?
  6. Explain why Eliezer prays to God for the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son did.
  7. The men who did survive the march are crowded into a barracks at the concentration camp Gleiwitz. What new danger now threatens Eliezer’s life?
  8. How does Juliek spend the last moments of his life?
  9. What does Eliezer do that saves his father from the selection at Gleiwitz?
  10. We have seen many examples in this book of the brutality and inhumanity of the SS officers. What is the latest example?


Night, Chapter 7

  1. Wiesel writes in the first paragraph, “The night was long and never ending.” We know night is a symbolic word in the book. What could Wiesel mean by night (rather than the time of day)? Put another word(s) in the blank: The ______________________________________ was long and never ending.
  2. How does Eliezer save his father’s life? What was happening in the cattle car?
  3. What is the real reason the German workers who are watching the train going by throw in crumbs of bread?
  4. The prisoners are now totally dehumanized by starvation, cold, exhaustion, and stress. Give proof of their dehumanization. [hint: mention Meir and his father]
  5. What does the story of the Parisian lady throwing coins to the poor children in Aden have to do with the German workers throwing bread crumbs to the Jewish prisoners? What do they have in common?
  6. After witnessing the dehumanized prisoners kill each other, Wiesel writes, “I was fifteen years old.” You are now about Eliezer’s age.
    1. In your life, have you ever lived through anything as horrible, brutal, stressful, or dehumanizing as Elie Wiesel has?
    2. Do you think you will ever have to endure what Elie had to go through?
    3. Compared to Elie, are you living a fortunate life?
  7. At last the train arrives at another concentration camp. What is the name of this camp?
  8. Eliezer tells us that 100 prisoners got into the wagon. How many are left alive at the end of the journey?


Night, Chapter 8

  1. Upon arrival at Buchenwald, Eliezer says, “I held onto my father’s hand—the old fear: not to love him.” What was it that Eliezer and his father have that has allowed them to survive when so many other died?
  2. Wiesel writes about his father, “He had become like a child, weak, timid, vulnerable.” How have their roles become reversed?
  3. Fearing his father is giving up, Eliezer argues with him. But he feels he is arguing with __________________.
  4. As Chlomo Wiesel is dying, Eliezer has guilty memories of Rabbi Eliahou and his son. [Go back to chapter 6 if you have forgotten who they are.] In what way does Eliezer feel he has become like Rabbi Eliahou’s son?
  5. Seeing how Chlomo Wiesel is dying, the head of their block gives advice to Eliezer. What does he advise Eliezer?
  6. What was Chlomo Wiesel’s last word? _________________________
  7. On what date did Chlomo Wiesel die? __________________________ 
  8. The last paragraph of the chapter tells us, “I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep. But I had no more tears… I might perhaps have found something like—free at last!” Looking at Chapter 8 overall, we see Eliezer has guilty and confused feelings. What is your opinion of Wiesel’s behavior toward his dying father?



Night, Chapter 9


1. resistance organization or resistance movement: any secret group struggling to fight back after their country has been defeated by the enemy.

2. liquidated: wiped out completely

Focus Questions

  1. What one thought totally occupies Eliezer’s mind now? ______________________
  2. On April 5, 1945 the SS realize that the war is almost over and they order all Jews to assemble together. Wiesel writes, “This was the end! Hitler was going to keep his promise.” What do the Jews believe the SS is going to do to them?
  3. What is the only thing Wiesel knows about the Jewish prisoners who were evacuated from the camp?
  4. What is the date that the Americans liberated Buchenwald? _______________________
  5. Most of the prisoners have one thought on their mind after being freed—food. What else do some of the men in the camp seek? ______________________________ & ______________________________
  6. What is it that none of the Jewish prisoners seek? ________________________________
  7. When Elie Wiesel looks into a mirror for the first time in a year, what does he see gazing back at him?
  8. Elie Wiesel is alive now, about 80 years old now, and still very active as a witness of the Holocaust. If he came to Sachem as a speaker, what three questions would you like to ask him?