Before Elie and his family are transported to Auschwitz, he enjoys a peaceful life dedicated to God. Elie is a devout Jew and spends the majority of his time praying in the synagogue, reading the Talmud, and studying Kabbalah. However, Elie's life dramatically changes when he experiences the horrors of the Holocaust. Inside the concentration camps, Elie witnesses men, children, and infants slaughtered at the hands of Nazi guards, experiences unimaginable hunger, and lives in perpetual fear.
Initially, Elie remains strong and his faith does not waver. However, Elie continues to suffer and cannot comprehend how an omnipotent God could allow such horrors to take place.
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish prisoners participate in their ritual prayers and bless God's name. However, Elie refrains from praising God and demonstrates his complete loss of faith by saying,
Yes, man is stronger, greater than God ... When Sodom lost Your favor, You caused the heavens to rain down fire and damnation. But look at these men whom You have betrayed, allowing them to be tortured, slaughtered, gassed, and burned, what do they do? They pray before You! They praise Your name! (63)
Elie's loss of faith seems to motivate him and fills him with a feeling of strength. Elie does not seem deterred by losing his faith and goes on to say,
On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man. Without love or mercy. (63)
For the remainder of his experience in the Holocaust, Elie does not rely on his faith to pull him through. His bond with his father gives him the strength he needs to persevere. In the hostile environment of the Holocaust, Elie revokes God and chooses to focus on his current situation. Elie lives for his father and their primary goal is to survive the horrific experience. Tragically, Elie's father passes away, and he completely loses his will to live.