The Jews of Sighet were well aware of some of the atrocities being committed by the Nazis against their community in different regions. However, this awareness was dulled down by their false sense of security and blind optimism. In addition, news from their radios filled them with hope that the opposing army will rescue them.
And so we, the Jews of Sighet, waited for better days that surely were soon to come.
"The Red Army is advancing with giant strides…Hitler will not be able to harm us, even if he wants to…"
The Jews were comfortable in Sighet, and they were not willing to relinquish what they had worked hard for over the years, to start over again in a foreign land. The option to relocate to Palestine was not really an option for most of them.
"I am too old, my son," he answered. "Too old to start a new life. Too old to start from scratch in some distant land…"
They cited geographical and strategic reasons that would prevent the Nazis from reaching Sighet. When the Gestapo arrived in Sighet, the people remained optimistic that they would only be exposed to lighter effects of war such as labor camps. They did not realize that this was not an ordinary war, and Hitler was bent on carrying out the “final solution” regardless of the negative sentiments. For the Jews of Sighet, the war would pass, and they would go back to living their lives, but this was not to be.
Yes, we even doubted his resolve to exterminate us.
Annihilate an entire people? Wipe out a population dispersed throughout so many nations? So many millions of people! By what means? In the middle of the twentieth century!