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Without Faith There Is Death

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When one lives by their faith it takes something incredibly drastic to lose what they believe in. In a world without faith or hope, life becomes a disaster. In the camp of Auschwitz, as Jews begin to lose faith, they become miserable or completely alone. In most cases, the loss of faith leads to the Jews feeling helpless and finding no reason to live. As the nights go by, Elie notices the massive amount of people who begin to lose their faith. In Night, by Elie Wiesel's experiences and interactions with Akiba Drumer and those in the camps, he discovers the outcome of losing one’s faith is death.

Elie sees how the loss of faith leads to death when Akiba Drumer loses faith and gives up on life. In the camp of Auschwitz, Elie sees everyone experience abuse and torture, which contributes to why many lose their faith. With time passing, hope for liberation diminishes, and even more lose faith. With the abuse that is endured, people can only hold on for so long until it takes a toll on one’s mind and body. As a result, Akiba Drumer finds no reason to struggle and becomes selected due to his weak figure. With Akiba becoming a victim, he allows himself to believe that the end for him has arrived. Akiba no longer has the strength to uphold his faith, and what comes from this loss, is his death. “If [Akiba] could have seen a proof of God in this Calvary, he would not have been taken by the selection. But as soon as [Akiba] felt the first cracks forming in his faith, [Akiba] had lost his reason for struggling and had begun to die” (73). Elie knew that Akiba once praised God and believed God would liberate them. Even so, with Akiba growing weak and continuing to wait, the physical and emotional demands become too much for him. Experiencing the trauma the abuse caused, Akiba’s faith began to shatter. If Akiba were able to have any slight faith left, anything to keep his spirit going, he may have possibly survived the selection. Elie can observe that because Akiba was unable to understand God, Akiba gave up on his belief of a savior and could not survive.

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As the inhuman cruelty continues, Elie’s witnesses countless Jews, including a Rabbi from a little town in Poland, lose faith and suffer the same fate as others. The Germans create a great deal of trauma that causes people to suffer and contributes to the loss of their faith. For example, Elie, much like others, are separated from their family, starved, and some worked to death. With each night of torture passing, Elie notices the great number of people that question God, relentlessly multiplies. Elie specifically notices a Rabbi who surrenders his beliefs who used to pray each day. The Rabbi was so incredibly faithful, he would recite pages of the “Talmud.” The Rabbi’s faith falters as he realizes he will not receive God’s mercy, and the torment will continue. “ ‘It's the end. God is no longer with could anyone believe in this merciful God?’...he was condemned in advance...when we saw the smoke rising from the chimney, we would think of [The Rabbi]” (73). Elie taking part in this conversation recognizes that the Rabbi and people have become angry with God because they have no understanding of why God would allow thousands of innocent people to die tragic deaths. As a result of their anger with the constant brutality occurring, they refuse to believe there is such a God. Through Elie’s interaction with the Rabbi, he learns after hearing him question God, that his consequence for doing so was what he had seen before, death.

Following Elie’s several encounters with people losing faith, he loses faith and comes extremely close to death. Elie becomes angry with God because it seems God ignores the people who have praised him and begged for freedom. With every fiber of his being, Elie rebels against God, he is furious that God would allow the people to be tormented, to burn in crematoriums and work until death would part them. “But these men here, whom You have betrayed...allowed to be tortured, butchered, gassed, burned, what do they do? They pray before You! They praise Your name!... This day I had ceased to plead” (64-65). These words from Elie describe the significance of how much he becomes to truly question God. With the maltreatment of the camps and acquiring no help from God, Elie gives himself no choice but to resent God. Later, Elie describes having no strength and precisely feeling his weariness. He allows himself to slumber but is awoken by his father. His father tells him it would be too dangerous to fall asleep in the snow because of their weakened state. If they are overcome with sleep, it is a definite possibility for them to sleep for good. Elie is conscious of the consequences but has no hope to go on any longer. He is at his lowest point, and no longer believing in his faith, he willingly gives up. He has no faith in him that will encourage him to stay alive. Elie has seen before, from Akiba Drumer and the Rabbi, that a negative outcome of losing one’s faith is feeling powerless and vulnerable. Elie exhibits the same feeling as he allows himself to fall into a deep sleep. Had it not been for his father interfering, Elie’s loss of his beliefs would have led him straight to his doom.

In Night, Elie Wiesel discovers the outcome of losing one’s faith is death by his experiences and interactions with Akiba Drumer and those in the camps. The damaging abuse Akiba Drumer experiences become too much for his crippled, old body, and permanently cracks his faith. With no faith to keep his spirits up, Akiba gives up on life and does not survive. Another victim was a Rabbi, a man who used to intensely practice his faith each day. Not understanding why God would allow thousands to die, his faith fades away as a result of his anger with God. The Rabbi’s repercussion was suffering the same fate as others, death. Just as Akiba and the Rabbi, Elie is tired of the constant injustice given to those at the camps and chooses to object to God. Elie loses his faith and therefore, has no motivation to stay alive. He knew the consequences of sleep would be lethal but without motivation, he barely survives. This was a persistent situation in which losing one’s faith makes them vulnerable and hopeless. Feeling helpless and weak is detrimental to one’s persona. It is made clear that as one loses hope, their future becomes a fatal disaster.

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Without Faith There Is Death. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“Without Faith There Is Death.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
Without Faith There Is Death. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2023].
Without Faith There Is Death [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Dec 5]. Available from:
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