Number A-7713. For me, it is not possible to comprehend the fact that that is what he was called. Just a number. One of millions upon millions of Jews, thrown in with other groups, to be slaughtered like sheep, like pigs. He watched his father and friends die. Trampled under people in death marches - burned alive in that terrible furnace - freezing to death - dying of disease and exhaustion - that is what he saw. That is what those sad eyes had to watch. Honestly, I cry when I read this book. In a sense, it is the most terrible book I've ever read. I don't think I'll ever really pity myself again. I was not beaten until covered in blood. I wasn't tortured and whipped and starved and mistreated. I have no room to claim that I suffer. I have more respect for this man, for the millions of Jews and homosexuals and Gypsies and the disabled and all the other people slaughtered or tortured in the Holocaust, than I have for any other body of people, any other person in general. I admire him for his strength. I would have caved. I would have died.
He grew up in Sighet, a village in Romania. He was a devout Jew, wanting to study documents and religious papers that most men never touched until they were into adulthood when he was merely twelve. Then, his family was taken away from their home, and only he and his two older sisters survived. His mother and little sister were killed, but they were taken from him immediately at Auschwitz. His father died near the end of the war. He wrote Night in 1955 - an autobiographical account of his terrible sufferings, and the sufferings of those who are gone. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, and I can only say that he deserved it very much.