The Oath (Wiesel novel)

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The Oath
The Oath (Wiesel cover).jpg
First US edition
(Random House, 1973)
AuthorElie Wiesel
Original titleLe serment de Kolvillàg
PublisherÉditions du Seuil
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages253 pp

The Oath (original title, French: Le serment de Kolvillàg) is a novel by Elie Wiesel. It tells the story of Azriel, the only surviving Jewish member of the small (fictionally named) Hungarian town of Kolvillàg after a pogrom perpetrated by neighboring Christians.[1] Azriel carries the secret of Kolvillàg's destruction within him, forbidden to share his experiences. However, when Azriel meets a young man on the brink of suicide fifty years later, he realizes that he must pass on his secret to save the young man's life - yet, he is bound by his promise to the dead.

Le serment de Kolvillàg is a work told in fragments - the point of view changes from present-day Azriel, the Azriel of the past, the young man in the present, and the young man's past. It is unstructured to the point where it borders on Surrealism. Some of the themes of Le serment de Kolvillag include pogroms, death, old age, secrecy, silence, and modernity.


  1. ^ Marcel Cornis-Pope, John Neubauer History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe 9027234523 - 2004 "In Le serment de Kolvillag (1973) an oath of silence is taken by the Jewish community itself just before its annihilation. In the latter, as well as in L'Oublie (The Forgotten; 1989), the protagonists finally break the silence, sharing their tragic past"