"Night" by Elie Wiesel—Book Club Discussion Questions

Get the conversation started with these questions

Jewish slave laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp near Jena, Germany. (April 16, 1945).
Buchenwald, 16 April 1945: Wiesel, second row, seventh from left. By Private H. Miller. (Army) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Night, by Elie Wiesel, is a concise and intense account of the author's experience in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. The memoir provides a good starting point for discussions about the Holocaust, as well as suffering and human rights. The book is short—just 116 pages—but those pages are rich and challenging and they lend themselves to exploration. Wiesel won the 1986 Nobel Prize.

Use these 10 questions to keep your book club or class discussion of ​Night challenging and interesting.

Spoiler Warning

Some of these questions reveal important details from the story. Be sure to finish the book before reading further. 

10 Key Questions About Night 

These 10 questions should start some good conversation, and most of them include mention of a few pivotal points that your club or class might want to explore as well. 

  1. At the beginning of the book, Wiesel tells the story of Moishe the Beadle. Why do you think none of the people in the village, including Wiesel, believed Moishe when he returned?
  2. What is the significance of the yellow star? 
  3. One of the few things Wiesel describes is his childhood, and the life before the Holocaust and is his faith. How does his faith change? Does this book change your view of God?
  4. How do the people Wiesel interacts with strengthen or diminish his hope and desire to live? Talk about his father, Madame Schachter, Juliek (the violin player), the French girl, Rabbi Eliahou and his son, and the Nazis. Which of their actions touched you the most?
  5. What was the significance of the Jews being separated into right and left lines upon their arrival in camp?
  6. Was any section of the book particularly striking to you? Which one and why?
  7. At the end of the book, Wiesel describes himself in the mirror as "a corpse" gazing back at himself. In what ways did Wiesel die during the Holocaust? Does the memoir give you any hope that Wiesel ever started living again?
  1. Why do you think Wiesel titled the book "Night?" What are the literal and symbolic meanings of "night" in the book?
  2. How does Wiesel's writing style strengthen his account?
  3. Could something like the Holocaust happen today? Discuss more recent genocides, such as the situation in Rwanda in the 1990s and the conflict in Sudan. Does Night teach us anything about how we can react to these atrocities?

A Word of Caution 

This is a difficult book to read in several ways, and you might find that it prompts some very provocative conversation. Wiesel was taken by the Nazis when he was just a teenager. You might find that some members of your club or your classmates are reluctant to wade into this, or conversely, that they get pretty fired up about issues of genocide and faith. It's important that everyone's feelings and opinions be respected, and that the conversation prompts growth and understanding, not hard feelings. You'll want to handle this book discussion with care.