The spite of myself a prayer rose to

The Holocaust was not only a way for the Nazis to purge the Jews, it was also a movement for a
new way of thinking, that as long as the person in front of you holds a military-grade firearm
there is nothing you can do to change your fate. In the memoir Night, Elie recounted his journey
through life in concentration camps. Elie struggles with his faith and morality as he and his
father witness the horrors of the Holocaust. Night reveals that it is human nature to hope to
survive through religion and faith, however it can fail in the most trying of circumstances.
Prayer is an essential to any kind of religious faith. Over the years and years of believing in a
higher power, it has become apparent that prayer had become human nature to have a sense of
spirituality, and also believe that their deity would bless and save their souls. “Why did I pray? A
strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?”(pg.20). To Elie, prayer was a natural habit
that he participated in daily despite not having a solid reason to. During the Holocaust, the
Jewish used religion as a last ditch effort to blame their misfortune. “And in spite of myself a
prayer rose to my heart to that God in whom I no longer believed”(pg.87). Regardless of how
much Elie wanted to reject his faith in God, part of him kept to his old habit of praying.
Ultimately the Jewish faith could not save them from their demise “For who has served me more
faithfully than you with your coward’s hope?” (The Hangman). The Holocaust had broken the
core of Jewish belief in a higher power and the eventual salvation of their souls, which was
inherently the goal of the Nazis. The spiritual part of human nature could not combat the
violence that is also in human nature.
Because of human nature, it’s easier to follow the instruction of a person of higher rank. In the
Holocaust it was more beneficial to follow the Hitler regime than to speak out against the Nazi
doctrine. “Here every man has to fight for himself and not think of anyone else”(pg.105). In the
camps, Elie had decreased his universe of obligation to include only his father and himself.
Similarly, in an Electric Shock Therapy Experiment performed by psychologist Stanley
Milgram, “about 65% of the people that he studied, who were normal volunteers, actually gave
the maximum number of volts”(Milgram). During the experiments the volunteers knew that by
flipping the switch in front of them they were hurting the “test subjects”. Instead, they decided
that following the orders of their superiors was the easier choice to make, rather than fighting
against them. This directly mirrored the situation presented to the nazis during the Holocaust era.
The nazis found it much easier to go along with the plans of their superiors even if they knew it
was wrong to kill off an entire race.
Within human nature there is a want to act against the corruption and evils of society. A human’s
moral compass directs each person to fight against what is considered evil and to praise
everything that is believed to be good. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good
men do nothing.” (quote from previous book i have read). This means that in order for humans to
rise above the evil of the world, good people have to take action against those who have
committed wrong doings. “Not a cry of distress, not a groan, nothing but a mass agony, in
silence.”(pg.84). Due to Elie and the other Jews submission to the Nazis, the dehumanization of
the Jews remained prevalent within Nazi Germany.
When the surrounding world is too harsh humanity relies on a higher power as a crutch to get
past the hardships of life. With the hope from a higher power humans have the will and belief to
fight against evil in society. However, humans do not often stand against their superiors when
there is no apparent benefit to doing so.

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