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  • Elie and his family are introduced. Elie, his three sisters, Mother, and Father all live in a small town of Sighet, Hungarian Transylvania. Early in his life, Elie becomes interested in Jewish mysticism. 
  • World War II has been going on for 3 years. The people of Sighet begin to wonder if the front is moving closer to them or if the war will end before it reaches Hungary. At this time, all foreign Jews are deported.
  • German soldiers enter Elie's town, and soon, ghettos are formed. There, they learn that they will be deported to a concentration camp. While making the three-day journey, Elie and his father are put in the same car as Mrs. Schächter. She screams relentlessly about seeing the fire.
  • The family arrives at Birkenau and the men are separated from the women. From there, they go to Auschwitz and eventually travel to Buna to work in an electrical factory. There, Elie recants the atrocities of death, despair, and the loss of hope he experienced under the Nazi occupation.
  • After months in the camp, Elie undergoes an operation on his foot. At this time, the camp is evacuated and the prisoners begin a death march: a fifty mile run to Gleiwitz. Many dies, only twelve remain alive when the train reaches the concentration camp Buchenwald. Throughout the ordeal, Elie and his father help each other to survive.
  • Elie's father was supposedly dead in the morning (Buchenwald) Elie has liberated with other on April 11, 1945.
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