Jul 27, 2016

Elie Wiesel's First Person Testimony

I was quite disappointed, actually horrified, when I discovered that Eli Wiesel's Night is listed as "fiction" in the my public library system.   The librarian checked to see how the book is listed in the neighboring library systems and found that it is as "non-fiction."
He gave me an email address where I could address my complaint to the person in charge of "collection management."  

I wrote a letter saying Night is a memoir, a Holocaust memoir that is assigned reading to many students. What a shame and, worse, what an undermining of Wiesel's work and life, to have students think the book is "made up." I hope you will rectify this categorization.
I received a speedy response which said:
I am the lead Hebrew and Yiddish cataloger for BPL.
Your question was forwarded to me. I am taking the liberty of letting you know that it is receiving much attention.

I have emailed a number of Jewish veteran librarians around the system to get their input. 

I appreciate the gravity of the impression that this could make on students, or provide an opening for a Holocaust denier. I don't think personally the great majority of people will get that idea, especially as there are so many other memoirs and history books in the collection.

In fairness to the original decision by someone to consider it fiction:
The book is a memoir but was written in novel form. There were changes in the ending from the Yiddish original to the French version which was subsequently translated into English.
Also there were sequels Dawn and Day (the Accident).
I subsequently found this interesting article: Amazon-recategorizes-Elie-Wiesel-s-Night

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