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Night Background Research


Background research to help you gain a more in-depth understanding of the historical context of Elie Wiesel's Holocaust memoir, Night. Topics are arranged basically chronologically.

At the end of each topic, the "On the book cart" section points out some titles from our book cart that might be most helpful. Citing a book in MLA 9 is really easy: Author lastname, Firstname. Title. Publisher, Year.

All Topics

This Bay Area educational organization focuses on the teaching of the most difficult periods of history.

Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism)


  • Kabbalah (Britannica)

  • Kabbalah: An Overview--written by a rabbi (currently at the Los Angeles Synagogue for Performing Arts), graduate of Columbia University, who has written a lot of books about Jewish history and culture and won several awards including the National Jewish Book Award. 

  • Kabbalah ( is a website to share information about Judaism that has been around in different forms since the late 1980s. Most of the articles are written by rabbis and religious scholars so it definitely has a religious rather than a neutral perspective, but it's a well-reviewed site by more neutral sources like the Washington Post and US News and World Report.

  • On the book cart: Check out Judaism; Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

Nazi Expansion in Europe

Groups targeted during the Holocaust


Ghettos During the Holocaust

  • Ghettos (USHMM)

  • Timeline of the ghettos (Florida Center for Instructional Technology)

  • Ghettos and Camps (this resource from the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle includes video clips from survivors about life in the ghettos. Let Ms. McAuley know if you need to borrow headphones!)

  • Ghettos (Yad Vashem)

    Yad Vashem is the Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, Israel. Make sure you click on the names of specific ghettos (ie; "Warsaw Ghetto") on the left-hand toolbar for more information).

  • Ghettos and Deportation (from a British Holocaust memorial organization)

  • Daily Life in the Warsaw Ghetto (British Imperial War Museum)

  • Art of the Ghettos and Camps (Florida Center for Instructional Technology)

  • On the book cart: Check out Life in the Nazi Ghettos; The Holocaust: The World and the Jews

Living Conditions in Concentration Camps, Forms of Resistance in Concentration Camps, Liberation of Concentration Camps

Dr. Joseph Mengele

Who knew what about Holocaust atrocities (internationally, in occupied countries, in Germany, etc.)

What Did The World Know? (Facing History)--also click "next reading" at the bottom, the next few pages are really helpful

"It's Not That The Story Was Buried" (TIME magazine, re: what America knew)

Americans and the Holocaust (USHMM)

"Early Warnings: How American Journalists Reported the Rise of Hitler" (Atlantic magazine)--you need to be logged in w/ your school Google account to view

Voyage of the Saint Louis (USHMM)

Voyage of the Saint Louis (Facing History)

Voyage of the Saint Louis (History channel)

Voyage of the Saint Louis (Britannica)

World Responses to the Holocaust (Facing History)

Smithsonian magazine--a really interesting article about ordinary Americans like you helping researchers find documents about what Americans knew at the time!

  • On the book cart: Check out The Holocaust: The World and the Jews; see also books listed under "All Topics" at top of this page


Elie Wiesel and His Life After the War

Nuremberg trials