Sweetwater High School sophomore students of Jennifer Alden read Night this semester. One of their assignments was to write the author, Elie Wiesel, a letter telling him the part of the book that impacted them the most and to include any questions they might have for him.
Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor. His book tells the story of how when he was a teenager, he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp and then to Buchenwald. "Night is the terrifying record of Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his innocence and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. Night is Wiesel's testimony of what happened in the camps and of his unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again."
Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for all of his work for humanity. He resides in New York City and is the head of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.
"I selected 25 of the best letters that really showed meaning and emotion and mailed them to him in New York City," said Alden. "These letters moved me and I felt so privileged to be able to read them and pass them along to Mr. Wiesel. It is so important that kids learn the past, so that we are never to repeat such awful travesties in the future."
Elie Wiesel wrote the students back.
"Dear Kori-Ana, Amber, Dana, Caroline, Ashley, Casey, Corynn, Cody, Chazz, Angellica, Eathen, Britnee, Angel, Leah, Jeremy, Daniel, Mark, Holly, Gabby, Savanna, Josh, Jasmine, Marissa, Shelby and Lauren,
Thank you for your kind letters, I always enjoy hearing from young people, and your letters were no exception.
I am moved to learn of the effect that my memoir, Night had on you. As a writer, nothing is more important. From your words, it is obvious that you are all very sensitive to the darkness of which I wrote.
I am flattered by what you say about me and my work. Knowing that you and your classmates will never forget the tragedies of the past fills me with hope. You can use your knowledge and understanding to educate those who are unaware. You and your classmates can make a difference in creating a new kind of century.
Keep learning and reading, more and more.
With best, best wishes to all of you—