Hostage by Elie Wiesel

Have you read the book Night by Elie Wiesel?  If not, you need to.  It’s a telling look into a personal Holocaust experience and a classic.

Recently I picked up another Elie Wiesel book called Hostage.  This book was so realistic, I had to do some research to make sure it wasn’t nonfiction.

Shaltiel Feigenberg is a storyteller in Brooklyn, Jewish, and is kidnapped and held hostage until he is willing to renounce Israel and the Jewish connection to Israel.  Apparently his captors took him randomly, assuming wrongly that all Jews have rich and powerful connections.

As Shaltiel tries to explain that he’s just a lowly storyteller, he’s tortured.

To survive, he channels his memories.

Hostage describes the torment that Shaltiel goes through (with very minimal details on the torture, so it’s not gory), as well as many of the memories of his past, including how he and father survived the Holocaust.

Throughout the book, I kept hoping that Shaltiel would be strong enough to survive.  He made it through the Holocaust (although with less trauma than others experienced), I wanted him to make it through this scenario, too.

If you haven’t read anything by Wiesel, Night is the place to start.  But Hostage was pretty good, too.

Have you read anything by Elie Wiesel?


Interested in getting your own copy? Check it out on Amazon & IndieBound. I get a small percentage if you purchase from those links, and it doesn’t cost you any extra.


24 thoughts on “Hostage by Elie Wiesel

    • Start with the book Night. It’s his true account of his Holocaust experience. I have read it both in high school and then again more recently. It’s tough because it’s a Holocaust book, but it’s a classic, short, and the text is easy to read even if the subject matter isn’t.


  1. I read Night in high school and it had such an impact I read Day immediately afterward and remember being disappointed. I only have vague feelings of what I felt reading it, but I definitely remember not fully being able to comprehend what I was reading at the time.


    • Night is much much better in my opinion than Day and also the third in the trilogy, but all are meaningful. If someone is only going to read one, I suggest Night of course. I’m glad I read it in high school and then reread it because the Holocaust is such a difficult topic to comprehend (I STILL can’t comprehend some of it now).


  2. I’m really glad you reviewed this book. I have a young writer who needs to better understand what being a hostage is like and I might recommend this to her. Do you think it would be suitable for a 17 year old?


    • Probably. I read it thinking about it as an adult, so going back to think about it like that. . . I’m just not 100% sure. Although I’m leaning towards yes because it lacks sex, has minimal bad language, and isn’t as graphic as most of the TV shows that this 17 year old has probably seen.


  3. I am so sad that younger generations do not know of Elie Wiesel–Nobel prize winner and Holocaust survivor. “Night” is one of the greatest books to come from a dreadful period in history.

    Please, please read it. It is available on Kindle.


  4. Night destroyed me. The thing that got to me most was that Wiesel kept describing how the people couldn’t believe what was actually going on. I mean, it was the 40s, not the dark ages. It’s just so mind boggling! I don’t know if I’d be able to handle this one, but I’d be willing to try, based on Night.


    • This one is fiction, so it might be an easier read. I think it’s amazing that the mind automatically wants to deny the terrible things that occur. It’s easier to deal with to deny than to face the horrific truth. But it’s the truth and it must be faced, no matter how awful.


  5. Night is actually the first of a trilogy…Night, Dawn, Day. I haven’t read the other two because Night is the only one you consistently hear about. Wiesel is a piece of history himself and everyone should at least read Night to preserve that tragic history.


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