Elie Wiesel introduces his family, the neighborhood, and his everyday life in Sigh during 1942. We learn that Elie is eager to learn more about his religion, and reaches out to Moishe the Beadle to help grow a stronger connection to God. Elie also references the distant war, but pays no mind to it.
Men to the left! Women to the right!
Soon after the German troops penetrated Hungarian territory, Nazi troops entered Sighet. However, they were reassuring towards the Jews and kept their distance.
After the Jewish Passover, the Germans began to enforce Anti-Semitic rules, with consequences of arrest, fines, and death. Then the Jews were forced to move into sectioned ghettos of Sighet. One fateful night, the Hungarian police forced hundreds of the Sighet Jews into cattle cars going to an unknown place.
On April 11th, 1945, Elie was released from Auschwitz. American troops entered the concentration camps allowing the Jews to free themselves. Elie was soon transferred to a hospital where he saw his reflection for the first time. He says, "From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me."
After several days of traveling, the Jews arrived in Birkenau. They did not know the danger that was ahead of them. Several SS officers shouted at them, separating Elie and his father from his mother and sister. This is where they met the infamous Dr. Mengele. Elie and his father lied about their ages to survive.
For about one year, Elie survived painful beatings, starvation, a loss of religion, death, whippings, bombings, abuse, threats, infection, terrorism, and more. The only thing that kept Elie going, was to survive with his father. Unfortunately, his father passed away from dysentery, only four months short of their release from the concentration camp.