Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
In the previous article posted here, a father tells of his effort to have Night by Elie Wiesel removed as required reading in the advanced Freshman English course at the school his children attend. He has suggested Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s writings as a good substitute, since the teacher of the course has said she wanted a story of someone interned in a prison camp.
Why a story of someone in a prison camp? For freshman (9th grade) students? When I was in school at this level, we were not assigned reading about prison camps. Of course, Elie Wiesel was unknown at that time. But this tells us that the reason for assigning Night to fourteen year olds in just about every school in the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere all over the world, has nothing to do with the importance for adolescents to read stories about life in a prison camp, but only to do with Elie Wiesel being promoted and sustained by the “powers that be” to the unquestioned status of “Holocaust High Priest.”
The dawning understanding that High Priest Wiesel is a con-man whose story Night is a purely fictional account that he took from a book published in Yiddish in 1955 is causing people like our father to object to Wiesel’s false narrative being forced upon their children in a setting in which criticism of the book is not allowed, but respect for the authorities behind it is demanded. Since the teacher has justified her choice of Night by saying she wants her students to read about someone in a prison camp, I asked the readers of Elie Wiesel Cons The World to come up with some suggestions. And they did! Here is the list so far:
Boer Boy by Chris Schoeman (2011) About the British internment of Boers during the 2nd Anglo-Boar War.
Looking Like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald (2005)
Dancing Along the Deadline: The Andersonville Memoir of a Prisoner of the Confederacy by Ezra Hoyt Ripple (1996)
Boy 30529: A Memoir by Felix Weinberg (2014)
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza (2007) Comment: It was on my neighbor’s son’s summer reading list. He loved it, and he is going into 10th grade.
Three Came Home by Agnes Keith (1947) An excellent, truthful and thoughtful autobiography of Keith?s internment in Japanese Army prison camps located in Borneo, 1942-1945.
In my opinion, the best choice is Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The book is approximately 168 pages and is definitely a classic. Next choice would be Boy 30529, which is 192 pages, or Looking Like the Enemy, also 192 pages. I like Boer Boy, but it’s too long and more expensive. Night is only 120 pages, which is one reason for its popularity.