Although there had been disturbing news and warnings that something bad would happen to the jews, "people not only refused to believe his tales, they refused to listen... Even I did not believe him" (Wiesel 7). Their disbelief that anything would happen allowed them to continue their normal lives.
The Jews were taken from the ghettos and were forced to travel in cattle cars where, "a piercing cry broke the silence: 'Fire! I see a fire! I see a fire!'... It was Mrs. Schächter" (Wiesel 25). This quote is foreshadowing to the concentration camps and the crematorium.
Elie and his family arrive at Birkenau, but he loses his mother and sisters so his only thought is "not to lose him. Not to remain alone" (Wiesel 30). In the future they depend on each other for survival and the will to live.
In the future, Elie runs into another survivor of the holocaust who once comforted him after he was beaten by saying, "Bite your lips, little brother... Don't cry. Keep your anger, your hate, for another day, for later" (Wiesel 53). The fact that he remembered after so long shows the impact it had on him.
The will of the inmates was tested during the selection process to see who was strong, and only the strong are allowed to live. While Elie was running, he describes it by saying, "My head was spinning: you are too skinny... you are too weak, you are good for the ovens" (Wiesel 72). Despite his pessimistic thoughts, he passed the selection.
As the Allied forces start to catch up to the inmates, they are forced to run in the cold while they were exhausted and hungry. They had run twenty kilometers without any breaks because "long since, we had exceeded the limits of fatigue. Our legs moved mechanically, in spite of us, without us" (Wiesel 87).