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On the seventh day of Passover, the leaders of the Jewish community were arrested by the Germans, in what signaled the beginning of the end for the Jews of Sighet. After that, events happened very quickly. A series of restrictions were systematically levied upon the Jewish population. First of all, Jews were forbidden to leave their houses for three days, "on pain of death." During those days, Hungarian police burst into every Jewish house, confiscating "gold, jewels, or any objects of value." A Jew no longer had the right to keep those things. When the three days of house arrest were up, a new decree was issued, proclaiming that "every Jew must wear (a) yellow star."
Decree after decree followed after the one mandating that the Jews identify themselves with the yellow star at all times. Jews "were no longer allowed to go into restaurants or cafes, to travel on the railway, to attend the synagogue, to go out into the street after six o'clock." Two ghettos were set up in Sighet, and all Jews were forced to live in one or the other. Within these boundaries, the Jews set up their own self-contained communities, appointing "a Jewish Council, a Jewish police, an office for social assistance, a labor committee, a hygiene department." The Jews began to convince themselves that life was returning to normal, despite the fact that each day, the Germans "came to fetch men to stoke coal on the military trains."
Finally, on the Saturday before Pentecost, leaders in the Jewish community were summoned to "an extraordinary meeting of the council." Gestapo officer had been seen within the ghetto confines in the past few days, bringing with them a premonition of evil. When the leaders returned, they brought devastating news. The ghettos were to be "completely wiped out." All their inhabitants, the entire Jewish population of Sighet, were scheduled for immediate deportation to undisclosed locations, beginning the next morning.
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