The concentration camps and death camps ruled by the Nazis during WWII were littered with people who could live no longer, who had no strength to go on. These people would commit suicide by electric fence, or find a reason to get shot. Just so they could end their suffering. These victims are the ones who had nothing, the people whose dearest belongings were inanimate and abandoned at home. However, Elie Wiesel had something not many had; a father in the camps with him. Together they lived for each other. Simply having one other person who one could rely on kept the pair alive, almost out of the camps.
The father-son pair stayed alive longer because together they suffered to try to stay together, they kept loyal to each other, and they stayed alive so that the other could live. In this document, Elie Wiesel tries desperately not to be separated from his father, it is that that keeps him living. From the very beginning when Elie and his family are sent off to camps he makes an effort to stay by his father’s side. A veteran inmate notices his desire and tells Elie to say that he is 18, so to be put with the men and not the boys. Later, Elie thanks the veteran.
All throughout Elie only thinks of his father and him staying together. Any time there is consideration of separation or one being selected without the other, Elie makes diversions and deals to keep his father with him. During one separation, “As for me, I was thinking not about death but about not wanting to be separated from my father. ” (Wiesel 82). In this situation, death can wait for Elie. He is not thinking of anything but staying with his father. When everyone around them is choosing to stay in the camp or go, Elie gives up his free will and consoles his father.
The two only wish to stay together. An important trait to any relationship, loyalty to the other will keep the kinship strong even in tough situations. Along with not wishing to be away from his father, Elie makes sure that he never gets thoughts of himself in his head. He lives for his father, and his father lives for him. Together they are loyal to each other. Sometimes Elie thinks that he could just leave his father, but he knows that is not right. Elie Wiesel represents father-son loyalty, “A terrible thought crossed my mind: What if he had wanted to be rid of his father?
He had felt his father growing weaker and, believing that the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival. ” (91) This is the opposite, but Elie realizes this. He knows that this is wrong and that even considering the act himself makes him feel worse. Elie never really considers leaving his father. The author notices that his own father is growing weaker and weaker, but he knows he must not leave him. The loyalty he has to his father, even after he himself is wounded, truly shows how much he loves his father.
All throughout the book, death is around the father-son pair. However, this only seems to motivate them. Neither wants to die and leave the other alone to fend for himself. The constant threat of death is the deciding factor for many choices made throughout this documentation. At times Elie believes he could die and it would be better, but he forces those thoughts out of his head because he knows they are preposterous. Death is soon something that just happens, people accept it, because there is nothing else that can be done. No ceremonies, no words, no time to mourn.
Elie relives his father’s death, “No prayers were said over his tomb. No candle lit in his memory. ” (112) This is how it is after all the deaths. Earlier in the book, a friend of all the camp’s had been taken away. The friend had asked–but more expected–that the men would say Kaddish for him. But all the men forgot. Death is a constant neverchanging theme for all the people of the concentration camps. Nothing is said for Elie’s father because Elie feels for himself. He protects him, as he has been for a long time. He has been protecting, surviving for only himself, his father has simply me a part of that self.
Elie lost an arm when he loses his father, but because of the despairing situation, he can do nothing about it. In this tragic tale the father-son relationship had many trials: together they suffer to try to stay together, they keep loyal to each other, and they stay alive so that the other can live. As difficult as it is to feel love for someone who is dying just as oneself is dying, it is essential so that one can have the motivation to live. Elie has one reason to keep going, that is for his father. He keeps his chin up, he saves his rations, he becomes the nurturer. Just to make sure that his father will live through the night.