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The Jews of Sighet chose to ignore signs that could have been viewed as warnings of approaching troubles because they didn't want to have to face the possible danger.
The first specific event that could have been seen as a signal was the deportation of foreign Jews from Sighet. If the native Hungarian Jews had identified more closely with the foreigners in their community, such as Moishe the Beadle, the forced transportation of those individuals away from Sighet would have raised concern. However, even Moishe's return and the stories he told about his experiences were not perceived as causes for alarm.
people not only refused to believe his tales, they refused to listen. Some even insinuated that he only wanted their pity, that he was imagining things.
The Jews of Sighet went on, refusing to acknowledge the possibility that Hitler might be able to carry out his threats. They felt protected by distance and by the strength of the nations fighting against the German forces. Even when Hungary was initially invaded, the Jews of Sighet convinced themselves that "The Germans will not come this far. They will stay in Budapest."
Another foreshadowing is through Madame Schachter's visions. In the cart on the way to the concentration camp, Madame Schachter screams that there is fire outside the window. Everyone rushes to look outside the window, only to see blackness. They start beating up Madame Schachter and then she goes back to being in despair. She yet again starts screaming about fire, and after several times, the others stop bothering.
Later when Elie and his father arrive at the concentration camp with numerous other Jews, they are put in line. They see fire, swallowing up children, babies, women, men... Fortunately they are saved before they reach the front of the line.
Madame Scachter's visions foreshadow the cruelty that the Jews would be experiencing in concentration camps.
There are quite a number of events that would have served as warnings to the Jews of Sighet of the impeding danger.
It started with the expulsion of the foreign Jews from Sighet. This instance should have raised questions among the Jewish community given the atrocious events being committed against them and the war. The Jews being deported were later condemned to death after crossing into Polish territory. Moishe the Beadle, a friend and teacher to Eliezer, managed to escape and upon his return to Sighet sought to inform all the Jews of the mass murder of his companions, but none took heed. "I am alone. But I wanted to come back to warn you. Only no one is listening to me…"
When the Fascist party seized power and a new government was formed, the Jews were not worried about it. “It meant nothing more to us than a change of ministry.”
When news about the growing tension and antisemitic acts in Budapest reached Sighet, the people got concerned but were still optimistic that the Germans would not reach that far. The German army finally reached Sighet, robbed the Jews, and condemned them to misery and death.
The Germans were already in our town, the Fascists were already in power, the verdict was already out—and the Jews of Sighet were still smiling.
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