Hope in Night (by Elie Wiesel)

Hope in Night
      In extremely difficult times, people are often shown to act cruelly towards one another. A prime example of this is life in the concentration camps during World War II, which was characterized by inhumane behavior on all sides. On the other hand, there are people who recognize that upholding their humanity and hope in dark times is the key to survival. In Night, by Elie Wiesel, the author claims that in order for humanity to survive hard times, people need to rely on each other by making and accepting sacrifices and by giving and receiving reassurance, a concept which Wiesel supports by demonstrating that some people’s self-determination and good will towards others prevails in perilous situations.
      Out of friendship, people are sometimes willing to work against the system and to make sacrifices for others who are in need. Before Wiesel’s family is transported to Auschwitz, an inspector of the Hungarian police promises to warn his family if there is imminent danger. Only in retrospect does Wiesel (represented by Eliezer) realize that this Hungarian policeman did in fact make an attempt to warn the Wiesels by knocking at their sealed window. Eliezer reflects on the event by stating, “It was only after the war that I found out who had knocked that night. It was an inspector of the Hungarian police, a friend of my father’s. …he had told us, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll warn you if there is danger.’ … But by the time we succeeded in opening the window, it was too late”(14). Although the Hungarian policeman’s attempt to warn the Jewish family is fruitless, he acts in a courageous and self-determined manner, upholding his humanity. He ignores orders at considerable risk to himself and bravely follows his impulse to help friends in need. If he had been caught attempting to warn the Wiesel family, he would have faced trial because he acted against the orders of his superiors and the interests of his country. This Hungarian policeman’s altruistic act...