In chapter one the Nazi's used ghettos, containment areas, that were created to contain the Jews to specific portions of the city and were described as "barbed wire fence surrounding us...crowded streets...[with] children play[ing] games, rolling hazelnuts on the sidewalks"(Wiesel 11-12). Here Elie and his family lived until they were forced to march to cattle cars where they would be moved to a different location.
Elie and his family were seriously mistreated on their forced travel by train to Auschwitz. One German soldier even says "There are eighty of you in the car...If anyone goes missing, you will all be shot, like dogs"(Wiesel 24) displaying how inhumanly the Jews were treated.
When Elie finally gets out of the cattle car he had arrived at Auschwitz which according to a Kapo is " not a convalescent home. It is a concentration camp. Here, you must work. If you don't you will go straight to the chimney. To the crematorium. Work or crematorium --- The choice is yours"(Wiesel 38-39). Here Elie is forced to do hard labor and other jobs and is separated from the rest of his family but remains with his father.
Next, Elie and his father were transported to a new work camp where at the end of one day they were forced to witness the execution of prisoners. One of those prisoners was a young pipel and Elie begins to question the existence of his God stating that "where is God?... this is where-- hanging from this gallows..."(Wiesel 65)
As Elie's hard labor continues and he is switched to the construction crew his foot begin to swell up and becomes much larger causing the doctor to "operate the next day"(Wiesel 79). Elie then fears for his life because if there was a selection he would be killed and he had to experience almost losing his father a few times in the previous weeks.
As the war front draws near the Jews of Auschwitz are forced to evacuate and to run all the way to the next camp through the freezing snow and icy wind. If they stopped to take a break they were shot and killed due to "shoot anyone who could not maintain the pace"(Wiesel 85) and the harshness of the Nazi soldiers caused by their fear of the nearing war front.