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Albert Raez

Mrs. Housepian/Mr. Conner

English 2H; Period 5
8 April 2016
The True Effect of War
While discussing about the effects of war, former president of the Republic of
Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski states, The alternative to peace is war, which will expose everyone
to mass casualties, misery and a loss of perspective for many years to come. This quote reflects
the idea that war poses a negative effect to the population and impacts their future in the years to
come. Many memoirs capture this negative effect and show different personal grievances that
war has caused people. Elie Wiesels Night, writes about his life during the Holocaust as a
fifteen-year-old boy, in The Yellow Star, S.B. Unsdorfer describes his life after the Holocaust, and
in The Berlin-Bucharest Express, Yaffa Eliach narrates about a confrontation with a German
officer. These memoirs all take place in different parts of the authors lives, but the one thing they
all have in common is that they are affected by these experiences. In the brink of war,
individuals are compelled to commence a new view on the world as they struggle to survive with
experiences that could shape up their lives forever.
The cruelty of war forces one to commit violent acts that do not reflect ones character. In
Night, he is traveling to Buchenwald when he witnesses a young boy and his father are battling
for a piece of bread when suddenly "The old mandied amid the general indifference. His son
searched him, took the bread, and began to devour it" (Wiesel 106). The disparity of the young
boy gave him a sense of urgency to retrieve the bread from his father, which results his death and

a few moments later, it results in the boys own death. The results of this incident portrays how
the brutality against the Jews during the Holocaust causes them to struggle against one another
for their own survival. The constant battle for survival came to an end when American troops
liberated the survivors of the concentration camps in 1945; as a result of this, the Jews were
seeking for Revengepunishment for the informed beasts who had slaughtered millions of
innocent victims, was not to be denied (Unsdorfer 151). The survivors of this tragedy had
finally been granted freedom and instead of appreciating the moment, they immediately began to
pursue revenge for the Nazis actions. The pain, the horror, and the disparity that the Jews had to
endure throughout the Holocaust had converted these people into savages that want their chance
to fight back against the Nazis. Wars cruelty creates a fierce group of people who battle for
their own survival, and which leads to questioning their own faith.
The reality of war allows many individuals to question their overall faith in their societys
religious belief. When Wiesel questions his faceless neighbor about God in his memoir, his
neighbor states, I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises,
all his promises, to the Jewish people" (Wiesel 81). The sufferings of the Jews had made him
believe that was not going God to help them, but rather, Hitler became more reliable to the mind
of the faceless neighbor. The faith of the Jews at this point in time had seemed to decline as
their prayers had not seemed to be answered due to the lack of change in their situation.
Although many Jews, like Elie Wiesel, had questioned and gave up on their religious beliefs,
Jews like U.S. Unsdorfer questioned as well, but ultimately continued to follow their religious
belief as Undorfer states, Within a few weeks after liberation, religion, which had seemed to do
so little for us, was now challenging us and our loyalties you cannot gauge its spiritual wealth

and power (Unsdorfer 157). After Unsdorfer became liberated from Buchenwald, he believed
that his loyalty was given the ultimate test which he had succeeded giving him a new
appreciation for God. Surviving from the same concentration camp as Wiesel, Unsdorfer shows
readers his faith to his religion and how he has differed from other Jewish survivors. The
questioning of ones faith is an effect of war that leads to the realization of losses that he or she
had to endure during this dark time.
The experience of loss creates a sense of loneliness for the person for the rest of his or her
life. In the memoir, The Berlin-Bucharest Express, Bronia had heard the news of the German
officers actions himself as a result she would hear in the clickety-clack of its wheels new
tales of terror, new names of other Jewish communities (Eliach 137). The tragic news that
Bronia hears from the officer scars her as now she always is hearing the souls of new Jewish
victims. The Jews that were killed had no relation to Bronia, but she takes their deaths as if she
had lost brothers and sisters. While the news of the assassinations of the Jews affected Bronia,
they did not relate to her as the death of Wiesels father deeply affected Wiesel as he states, I
shall not describe my life during that period. It no longer mattered. Since my father's death,
nothing mattered to me anymore (Wiesel 113). Wiesels father meant the world to Eliezer since
it was the only person he had left. When he died, Eliezer was depressed and felt as if he was
done with life. The passing of his father made him enter a state a loneliness that he could not
escape and still haunts him to this day. The feelings and emotions towards innocent people at the
moment changes witnesses lives as they forever carry those experiences.
While high death tolls are reported and may seem as the most shocking part of the war,
it is the impact that the war leaves on the living population that is the most powerful. The
impacts, such as a constant battle with ones own morals, the distrust in religion, and the growing

despair and loneliness people feel is the most significant outcome of war as it shapes a new
fearful generation.The decisions people make during the time of war questions his or her's true
character. Their faith tested to the extreme to allow an individual to question and either accept or
decline their beliefs. Lastly, many generations of families came to and end, forcing the survivors
to rebuild what was destroyed. The last battle does not signify the end of the damage the war has
caused. The damage a war causes may come to an end until many generations later. Although the
death toll is considered the most horrifying consequence of a war, the invisible scars it leaves on
the survivors is truly the most significant.

Works Cited

Eliach, Yaffa. The Berlin-Bucharest Express. New York: Vintage, 1988. Print.

Unsdorfer, S. B. The Yellow Star. Austin: Jewish Publication Society, 1968. Print.
Wiesel, Elie, and Marion Wiesel. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a Division of
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.