The Watch by Elie Wiesel

In 1964, Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel wrote “The Watch”, which is a short story about some of his experience before and after the Holocaust.

“The Watch” begins in Hungry, late April of 1944, the day of Wiesel’s bar mitzvah. Wiesel and his family are burying items of significance because that morning, in the local paper, it was printed that from than on they where ridding the city of “every single one of its Jews”. Every member of Wiesel’s family chose a location in their yard to bury the items important to them for safe keeping until they return. For Wiesel, it was his newly gifted, gold watch.

After the holocaust, 20 years later, Wiesel returned for his buried treasure. In the yard that now belonged to someone else, Wiesel dug up his precious watch. Only to discover that watch was on longer the shiny gold bar mitzvah gift he received. It was now a dirt-covered symbol of everything that had taken place over the last 20 years. It no longer was just a symbol of Wiesel’s bar mitzvah, but also a symbol of the Holocaust time period, a symbol survival, as well as a symbol of everything life was than as well as now. The watch represented everything about time itself. You begin shiny and new, than as time passes you dull a little bit, maybe acquire some scratches but you survive.

In the end Wiesel reburied the watch in hopes that a child of the future would find it and the watch would tell the Holocaust story, tell how so many Jewish people where robbed of their future.

“The Watch” reminds me quite a bit of “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak, both stories an ordinary item becomes a symbol of the Holocaust. In “The Book Thief” it’s a burnt book, and “The Watch” it’s a gold watch. Both ordinary, everyday items but also symbols of a horrific time period.

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