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After an initial period of fear when the Sighet ghettos were formed, life returned to normal for the Jews. Cut off from the rest of the Hungarian populace, the Jews formed their own little republic, appointing their own Jewish Council and establishing their own police department, social assistance network, and other elements of self-government. Except for a few unsettling incidents, the atmosphere in the ghettos was peaceful - "in the spring sunshine, people strolled, carefree and unheeding, through the swarming streets". Almost up until the moment when they were deported, the Jews lived under the illusion of unfounded optimism. Life went on as usual, and "the general opinion was that (they) were going to remain in ('the safety of') the ghetto until the end of the war" (Chapter 1).
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