FROM THE ELIE WIESEL BLOG
The Shadowy Origins of "Night"
In literature, Rebbe, certain things are true though they didn't happen, while others are not, even if they did. … Elie Wiesel, All Rivers Run to the Sea
By Carolyn Yeager
Part One: When and how was Un di Velt Hot Gesvign written?
The question I present to you, the interested public is: Was Night, a slender volume of approximately 120 pages in its final English-language form, written by the same person who wrote its original source work: the reputed 862 typewritten pages of the Yiddish-language Un di Velt Hot Gesvign (And the World Remained Silent)?
This is an important, though not crucial question, as to whether Elie Wiesel is an imposter. The evidence that I have uncovered so far is however, even on this question, not in his favor.
Naomi Seidman, professor of Jewish Studies at Graduate Theological Union, wrote a controversial article about Elie Wiesel titled "Elie Wiesel and the Scandal of Jewish Rage." In that article, she mentions a 1979 essay by Wiesel, "An Interview Unlike Any Other," that contains the following on page 15:
"So heavy was my anguish [in 1945] that I made a vow: not to speak, not to touch upon the essential for at least ten years. Long enough to see clearly. Long enough to learn to listen to the voices crying inside my own. Long enough to regain possession of my memory. Long enough to unite the language of man with the silence of the dead."1
Just as an aside, I have to wonder whether these are believable thoughts for a 16 year old? And why wouldn't his memory be better immediately, rather than 10 years hence?
In the essay, Wiesel also explains that his first book was written "at the insistence of the French Catholic writer and Nobel Laureate Francois Mauriac" after their first meeting in May 1955 when Wiesel had obtained an interview with the famous writer and the subject of the Holocaust had come up. Wiesel told him he had taken a vow not to speak, but Mauriac insisted he must speak. "One year later I sent him the manuscript of Night, written under the seal of memory and silence." 2
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