Night Irony

Description of the camp: conditions at Auschwitz were "good"(Dramatic Irony)

When the prisoners arrive in Auschwitz, they learn that though it was a labor camp, that conditions were relatively good, that families would not be separated, and that only young people would have to work in factories. The terrible and dramatic irony that comes with this knowledge is brought by the reader, who knows from history that Auschwitz is one of the most notorious labor camps of the Nazi death camps. This horrible foreshadowing unnerves the reader, since they feel unable to warn the characters of their impending doom.

The decision to evacuate Buna (dramatic irony)

One of the most painful ironies in the book is that Eliezer and his father could have been liberated much earlier than if they stayed where they were. Eliezer and his father decide to be evacuated from Buna with the rest of the prisoners instead of staying in the hospital. As Eliezer describes, “ I learned after the war the fate of those who had stayed behind in the hospital. They were quite simply liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.” It is a decision that seems to haunt Eliezer, since his actions, (though he couldn’t have known) resulted in a transcription of events leading to his father’s death.

Yellow Star (Situational)

When the Jews in Sighet are issued the decree that all Jews must wear the yellow star, Weisel’s father replies to the public backlash saying, “the Yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal.” While the star itself was not actually lethal, the title that came with it, that one was markedly and legally Jewish, in fact was. This is yet another example in which Wiesel relies upon the fact that the reader will understand historical references, and indeed, see the clear irony something so banal became such a symbol of the holocaust.

Moche the Beadle's Warning (Dramatic Irony)

At the beginning of the book, Wiesel reveals that though the town was aware of Moche the Beadle’s warnings of the concentration camps, the camps sounded so horrific that they believed that there was no possible way that they could be real. Though they condemn Beadle’s assertions to insanity, the irony is that that the one the town believes to be the maddest is actually the one who has the best clarity. The irony of the situation shows two things: one, it was easier to remain silent and in denial than believe that the world had truly become so dark, and two, that this belief was not only a global one, but one that the very victims themselves believed until it was too late.