Many people want to have courage; maybe because courage is an asset of survival during the toughest times like the Holocaust. According to Dictionary. com, courage is, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. ; bravery” (Dictionary. com). Having courage means that you are able to conquer your fears and do something knowing the consequences. The Holocaust was a tough time period for millions of Jews; during which there rights and freedom were taken away. The Jews were stripped of everything leaving them with nothing: no hope, no faith, and no idea for freedom.
The only thing that kept very few Jews alive was courage. They tried to fight back, they tried to protect their family, and they tried even harder to survive. All the Jews needed courage because with courage comes character and a chance to keep fighting. The most famous type of courage that is depicted in the novel Night and the film Life Is Beautiful is familial courage. Keeping a family strong and supported during these extremely challenging times is a difficult task; especially when there are children. Elie from Night and Guido from Life is Beautiful both demonstrate the ability to perform courageous acts during harsh intervals.
Elie and Guido rely on their courage as strength to persevere during the Holocaust. Elie was a boy who witnessed the holocaust from the age of twelve to sixteen. In the years between, Elie was faced with countless obstacles that left brutal marks/scars to his mind. The only one he had left was his father. His poor mother and sister were separated at the arrival of Birkenau. Even though his father began losing stamina and became weak, Elie would always stay by his side, providing him with more food. In a way, you could say that he used his father as a step to rise up to be courageous.
Without his father, Elie would not have done the things he did in the camp. It was because of his father that Elie discovered himself and his courage. His father “made” him take risks so he could therefore provide protection for them both. The fact that Elie didn’t leave his father’s side even though he wanted to is definitely courage. The first sign of courage that Elie has in the novel is when his father is seized and beaten. “I did not move. What had happened to me? My father had just been struck, before my very eyes, and I had not flickered an eyelid.
I had looked on and said nothing” (Wiesel 39). Other children would have gotten up, began crying, or would have run to their loved one side. It took courage for Elie to stay there and not feel anything while watching his dad take a nasty blow. Also, towards the end of the book, Elie hears the story of Rabbi Eliahou’s son who left his father behind because he knew he wouldn’t make it. After hearing the tragic story, Elie asked God to give him strength to never do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son did. (Wiesel 91). In short, Elie used his dad’s welfare as a boost/ step to being courageous.
He did many other things in Night that shocked many people but the overall idea is that he relied on courage to persevere during the Holocaust. To further explain, Guido, a Jew who was imprisoned in a concentration camp experienced harsh labor and strict discipline just like Elie and his father. The only difference is that Guido had his young five-year-old son Giosue with him. The only reason Guido was showing courage was because he wanted to protect his son from the reality of life. In the movie, it showed Guido “translating” a German officer explaining the rules to make it sound like a game.
He told his son that this entire place was a game and that you get points; the person/team with the most points wins the tank at the end(Life Is Beautiful). You could say that Giosue’s father brainwashed him, but it was for his own protection. The ultimate goal for all the Jews was to survive, and not everyone did. Unfortunately, Guido risked his life to save his son and to see his wife. Even though Guido knew he might not make it back alive, he ensured that his child would stay protected from the Germans. What’s more courageous than that? So Guido relied on courage to persevere during the Holocaust.
Also, Guido was just looking after his son; he did not want any harm to come to him. In order to protect him, Guido kept trying to hide him from any officers because all the other children were killed when they were to “take a shower”. As a father of a family, it is his duty to protect them, his wife and child through the toughest of times, but he was separated from his wife which made him even more willing to find her. Guido risked his life to protect his family. At the end of the movie, Guido disguises himself as a female Jew to see if his wife is alright.
Guido runs away, and hides from officers just to ensure that his wife is still living and is not put in harm’s way(Life Is Beautiful). During another time in the film, Guido says something memorable to his wife over the microphone as a way of telling her that he and Giosue are still alive(Life Is Beautiful). This brave father is forced to break many rules to certify that his family does not feel any pain, mentally or physically. So Guido relied on courage to persevere during the Holocaust for his family’s wellbeing. As you can see, familial courage is an essential when it comes to surviving during punitive times.
Without courage, Elie and Guido would not have gotten to where they ended up at the end. Maybe, they would have lost someone dear to them or they would have lost themselves. Courage was something that a lot of people were stripped of, didn’t have, or didn’t want to use because of the fear they had of the Germans soldiers. But few people still had a purpose to use courage to persevere during the Holocaust mostly because of their family. It’s shocking to see how familial courage is something that a young teenager and a father have in common; Elie needed his father, and Guido needed his son and wife to be courageous.