Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. The life of each person is shaped by the memories hidden in the minds shadows of the people around him or her. The future is born from the past, and so to forget the past is to ignore the future. Despite this historical cycle, it is human nature to repress and ignore truly atrocious memories to protect oneself. The atrocities of the Holocaust must be remembered, to prevent it from happening again. This need to remember is the basis of Elie Wiesel's autobiographical memoir Night. As he describes his personal experiences during the systematic annihilation of six million Jews, he is reaching out to the reader to carry on his memories as the reader's own so that humanity may learn from history. .
Throughout Elie's stay in the concentration camps, he is guilty of forgetting and ignoring the past. In an attempt to shield themselves from the horror and the grief the "deportees were soon forgotten" by those left behind. Forgetting the people lost with each deteriorating situation becomes a motif in Elie's life at this time. The people deported from Sighet, and then the ghetto, then at Auschwitz, Buna, Gleiwitz, and Buchenwald, are all forgotten. He atones for this temporary lapse through the publication of his memoir, through which he faces all the people lost during his dreadful experience. .
Akiba Drummer's ten closest friends, including Elie, forget to say the Kaddish and Akiba three days after the selection, forgetting he ever walked among them. While, in the camp, they do not remember that Akiba died because he lost his belief in God, or that his soul died before his body, and so do not learn from Akiba's death. It is easier for them to ignore the loss of Akiba. They do not face the similarities between his death and the current direction of their lives and so do not learn from these parallels. Elie refuse to continue to let himself forget Akiba Drummer, to help himself and the readers learn from his encounter so they may prevent another person from dying the way Akiba died.