There are many different ways people reconciled their faith with the horrors they faced in this book. Some just lost their faith entirely. The prime example would be Elie himself—he changed from a very religious young man to an atheist. Here is what he says:
My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man. Without love or mercy. I was nothing but ashes now, but I felt to myself to be stronger than this Almighty to whom my life had been bound for so long. In the midst of these men assembled for prayer, I felt like an observer, a stranger.
From this perspective, faith and the horrors of suffering are not reconcilable.
Others continue to believe in God. This fact confounds Elie. These people are reciting the Talmud and seeking comfort in their faith. All of this was a mystery to Elie. Perhaps this is the answer to how people can reconcile faith and suffering: God works in mysterious ways. One rabbi suggests this point:
I know. No one has the right to say things like that. I know that very well. Man is too insignificant, too limited, to even try to comprehend God's mysterious ways. But what can someone like myself do . . .
Still others may have viewed their faith as an escape from horrors. Elie intimates this point when he points out that some people read the Talmud to escape.
He had worked in the electrical material depot in Buna. People mocked him because he was forever praying or meditating on some Talmudic question. For him, it was an escape from reality, from feeling the blows . . .