“As surely as the victims are a problem for the Jews, the killers are a problem for the Christians.”

Elie wiesel is a jewish author all Christians ought to read. His Jacob-like struggle with God was born from his experience of the Nazi pogrom and his vision of the terrifying flames gushing from the tall chimneys of Auschwitz. Taken with his mother, three sisters, and father to the German concentration camp in 1944, he recounts the experience in Night (1958), his first book.

François Mauriac, the Christian French novelist, who encouraged Wiesel to tell his story, wrote the foreword to Night. He describes what engaged him “most deeply”: “The child who tells us his story here was one of God’s elect. From the time when his conscience awoke, he had lived only for God and had been reared on the Talmud, aspiring to initiation into the cabbala, dedicated to the Eternal. Have we ever thought about the consequence of a horror that, though less apparent, less striking than the other outrages, is yet the worst of all to those of us who have faith: the death of God in the soul of a child who suddenly discovers absolute evil? [emphasis added].”

Night; the flames of the crematorium; absolute evil.

Here is Wiesel’s description of arrival at Birkenau, the reception center for Auschwitz:

An SS noncommissioned officer came to meet us, a truncheon in his hand. He gave the order:

“Men to the left! Women to the right!”

Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight short, simple words. Yet that was the moment when I parted from my mother. I had not had time to think, but already I felt the pressure of my father’s hand: we were alone. For a part of a second I glimpsed my mother and my sisters moving away to the right. Tzipora held ...

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