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Losing Faith

In: English and Literature

Submitted By AshleyRae
Words 1770
Pages 8
Ashley Freeman
Dr. Wallace
English 1302
29 November 2013
Losing Faith
There were a lot of Jewish people who had a large faith in humanity or in what we all called God and Elie Wiesel was one of them. Their faith in humanity ended up being lost during the second Great War, which is commonly known as War World II. Though, after the war and after they were saved by the Allies, little by little their faith in humanity and God slowly came back. Even the truest believers, like Elie Wiesel, can lose their faith in all of humanity and even who they call God, but once you are shown even a slightest bit of kindness, you can gain it all back.
In the very beginning of Elie Wiesel’s novel, Night, based off his experiences during the World War II, all he wanted was someone to help him in his studies of the Kabbalah. Even though his father thought him to be too young that did not stop Elie from pursuing his dreams. He ended up finding a teacher for his studies of the Kabbalah in Moishe the Beadle. Elie was not the only Jewish child whose studies meant a lot to him. David Weiss Halivini was another child who had big dreams and an even larger faith. He had a dream of being a rabbi of a small village in the Carpathian Mountains (Fox). Though he had to put his dreams on hold after the Germans came and put his family into the ghettos, just like Elie’s family. Also like Elie, he continued with his studies, not wanting to put his dreams on hold because he was moved into a ghetto. Not only did Jewish families have a strong faith in humanity, but Germans who were a part of the Hitler’s army had a strong faith in the war. In the book and movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Bruno’s mother had an extreme belief that all Jewish people were bad and that the German soldiers were doing a great thing. She did not care that she had to move her children away from their friends and school for her husband’s job, since he was a soldier. In the movie, The Pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman still had faith that there was good people out there that would help him survive. Back to Elie’s life, he started to lose his faith in the labor camps.
The first time Elie faith was failing him was his father and his first day in Birkenau, when they both thought that they were about to be cremated. This was the first time he had ever felt anger towards the Almighty. During his time in Auschwitz, he ceased praying; he still believe that God existed but he did not believe in his absolute justice anymore. Another strong reason for the depletion of his faith was when he and some other prisoners saw the hanging of a young boy. A lot of the prisoners asked where God was, since he had allowed the hanging of the little boy to happen. In David Weiss Halivini’s case, he started to lose his faith after he was separated from his family in Auschwitz. The work was hard on a boy and his faith started to fade. When Bruno’s mother realized what was happening to the Jewish people in the concentration camp by their house, she did not want to believe it. She did not think that even the Jewish community should be burned to death; and her faith was completely gone after her son Bruno snuck into the camp and was by accident gassed to death. During The Pianist when Wladyslaw was hiding in that house and the German soldier had found him, he was scared. After Wladyslaw had showed the soldier where he was staying and the soldier had left, Wladyslaw cried himself to sleep because he thought the solider was going to turn him in. In another true story, a son of two Jewish people who lived and survived during the holocaust tells of what happened to his parents. Menachem Daum talks about how his mother lost her faith. Fela Nussbaum Daum tells her son how she had a strong faith in God as she was pulling into Auschwitz. She had arrived with her sister and an infant son. To save her life, she would have to give up her child instead of going into the gas chambers. Giving up her child made her lose her complete faith in humanity and she never recovered from that (Abernethy). Betty Gold, another survivor from the holocaust, who had watched her own cousin kill her child to keep the Nazi soldiers from finding them, which had also happened in the movie The Pianist. After the war, she had ended up losing her faith. She just could not figure out how there could be a God who would allow the massacre of her Jewish community (Fillmore). Another true story was of David Bram. He was a non-observant Jew and he did not have a strong belief to begin with to lose (Fox). Once winter had arrived for Elie, he ended up having to go to the infirmary where the doctor had to perform surgery. He stayed in the infirmary until someone told him that the Russians were coming. His father and Elie left with the rest of the camp; and his faith was still low.
David Bram, who left his family to work in hope of seeing them again, work hard at his job the Nazi’s gave him. “He survived the Poznan, Breslau, Gross-Rosen labor camps; and Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Ebensee concentration camps.” The reason why David worked as hard as he did in hope of seeing his family again but he ended up gaining faith in God and in May 1945, he was liberated by United States troops (Fox). The way that Betty Gold had gained her faith back was through the way of marriage and children. She was raised in the Orthodox tradition and returned to her faith as a Conservative Jew (Fillmore). Now, she feels free to talk about what happened to her and her family during the war. Another true story was Menachem Daum, whose mother never regained his faith. His father, Moshe Yosef Daum, had never once lost his faith in God. He believed that you no matter need faith in life to live, even with all of the unanswered questions that they had (Abernethy). In the movie, The Pianist, Wladyslaw had gained a new faith in German humanity because Captain Wilm Hosenfeld had helped keep him alive. Wladyslaw had tried to go and save him after the war, but he could not find out where the Russians took them. Captain Wilm Hosenfeld had ended up dying in the labor camp he was taken to after the war. The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas, is a book and movie in which Bruno’s mother, and even his father and sister, who would never believe that war was justice since Bruno ended up dying in a Jewish concentration camp. David Weiss Halivini’s faith was easily gained back when he saw a guard eating a sandwich wrapped in a piece of the Jewish religious text. He had asked the guard nicely for the bletl and was given the page. David and some of the others prisoners study the page in secret every night. Not only did that page help David gain his faith back but the bletl gave all of them the energy to continue to work in the labor camps. Even after more and more people out of his group were dying, he was asked if he still believed in God. David’s answer was yes because without God, this war would be even crueler than it already was (Fox). Even after the Elie was saved by the American troops in Buchenwald, he still did not have his faith back. Now, after he has wrote his novel Night, he has been interviewed by many people, Robert E. Douglas Jr. is one of them. They always asked him if he has gained his faith back. Elie’s answer when Robert asked him was that he was still questioning his faith. He knows that his relationship is different now, he does not have the same relationship before the holocaust but he still has questions. Where they used to be why he would pray, these now do not have any answers. The answers have to come from God and not from men, which was what Moishe the Beadle tried to tell Elie at the beginning of the war (Douglas).
Even though there were a lot of Jewish people who had a strong belief system before the Great War and they were not the only who believed in God and humanity. The Germans also believed in God and humanity, but they thought that the war was a completely justified. During the war, a lot of Jewish and non-Jewish people lost their faith in what they were fighting to achieve. Whether it was for there to be no more Jewish people on this earth or to still believe in God and humanity, they were not going to stop trying to win. After the war, some gained their faith, while other are either still questioning or they were never going to believe in God again. Just because someone had the strongest belief system before the war, that war was so cruel that it would be hard to still have that faith; but no matter what all they need to do is try and maybe they can gain a little of that faith back. Bibliography:
Abernethy, Bob. "Holocaust Survivors: The Search for Faith." PBS. PBS, 20 Apr. 2001. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. .
The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas. Dir. Mark Herman. By John Boyne. Screenplay by Mark Herman. Perf. Asa Butterfield and Jack Scanlon. Miramax Films, BBC Films, Heyday Films, 2008. DVD.
Douglas, Robert E., Jr. "Elie Wiesel's Relationship with God." Elie Wiesel's Relationship with God. Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Humanities Sufficiency Program Worcester Polytechnic Institute, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. .
Fillmore, Janet. "A Voice Unsilenced: Holocaust Survivor Betty Gold Tells Her Story so Young People Understand." Northeast Ohio Media Group LLC.. 7 Nov. 2008. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. .
Fox, Josh. "Survivors Preserving the Religion During the Holocaust." 2000 Holocaust Remembrance Project. N.p., 2000. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. .
The Pianist. Dir. Roman Polanski. By Wladyslaw Szpilman. Screenplay by Ronald Harwood. Perf. Adrien Brody and Thomas Kretschmann. R.P. Productions, Heritage Films, and Studio Babelsberg, 2002. DVD.

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