Timeline of Elie Wiesel's Life

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Elie Wiesel Night Timeline

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Activity Overview


Tracking Elie’s life as he explains it in the novel is important for making connections with the story. Night is an exemplary novel for students to use to connect to on many different levels. In this activity, students will create a timeline to make text to world (History) connections. As part of learning about the Holocaust, students can use Elie Wiesel’s first hand experience of the atrocities to help further understand the political and factual occurrences during the war. They may also want to supplement their timeline with additional research.


Example Timeline of Night

1941

Elie is introduced

Elie is 12 years old and is studying the Kabbalah. He is curious about his faith. He urges his father to teach him Jewish mysticism. His father declines, saying he is too young. Elie finds Moshe the Beadle who becomes his Rabbi (Teacher).

1942

Moshe Warns of Atrocities

The Hungarian government sends for all foreign Jews who could not prove Hungarian citizenship. They are deported to Nazi-held Poland. On the way the SS murder them. Moshe is able to escape and returns to Sighet to tell his story, but no one believes him.

1943

The Calm Before the Storm

Elie celebrates his bar mitzvah and continues to study the Bible and other Jewish books.

1944

German Occupation

In March, Sighet is occupied. Jews are forced to wear stars. Soon their businesses are shut down.

1944

Then Came the Ghettos

In May, Jewish homes are raided and they are forced into the ghettos.

1944

Transport to Auschwitz

At the end of May, Elie’s father learns that all the Jews will be transported to a concentration camp. They are expelled from the ghettos and forced onto cattle cars by the hundreds. Once at Auschwitz, Elie and his father lie in order to survive.

1944 -1945

Life in the Camp

For seven months, Elie and his father work in the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Buna.

1945

SS Units Evacuate Auschwitz / Death March

Over the winter, Elie's foot becomes infected, and in January, he requires an operation. With the Red Army advancing, the SS evacuates the camp and forces the prisoners on a 50 mile death march to Buchenwald. Of the 20,000 who left the camp only 6,000 survive.

1945

Elie's Father Dies/ Shlomo

January 29: The prisoners arrive at Buchenwald, but Shlomo Wiesel dies of dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion. Elie becomes guilt stricken with feelings of relief and sadness.

1945

Liberation in April

Elie is liberated and sent to France, where he spends time recovering from intestinal issues. “From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.


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