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The train takes them to Birkenau. This is where the men and women are separated, and Eliezer and his father never see his mother or his sister again. Eliezer witnesses his father being struck by one of the officers for merely asking for the restrooms. He also witnesses little children being burned alive. This stop was most likely the worst of them all from the moment they saw the fires from the train. They see that Madame Schacter predicted their fate in her screams, and were then torn from their families forever.
The Jews of Sighet were confident that nothing would happen to them despite all the warnings and stories they heard from other areas. Moishe the Beadle survived to tell of his harrowing experience at the hands of the German police, but none except Eliezer paid attention to his story. The German police arrived in Sighet, but the people still believed they were not under any threat because of how the initial officers behaved towards them. It was only until they were organized in ghettos and had their valuables taken from them that they realized the precarious nature of their situation. They were later transported out of the town, but they were optimistic that they were only being taken away from the frontier.
"There are rumors," my father said, his voice breaking, "that we are being taken somewhere in Hungary to work in the brick factories. It seems that here, we are too close to the f r o n t…"
Eliezer’s family was the last to leave the ghettos among other Jews who were scheduled for the last transport out of Sighet. Their train first stopped in Kaschau on the Czechoslovakian border, where they were handed over to the German army. The second stop was at Auschwitz. The final stop was at the camp in Birkenau a short distance from Auschwitz.
In front of us, those flames. In the air, the smell of burning flesh. It must have been around midnight. We had arrived. In Birkenau.
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