How did the Sighet Jews fail to anticipate Nazi brutality?

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When Moishe returns to Sighet with stories of the Nazi brutality he witnessed and experienced firsthand, the Jews do not believe him. "They think I'm mad," he tells Elie (page 7). After foreigners are expelled from the town and witness the madness of the Nazis, life returns to normal. In the spring of 1944, as news of the Russian victories arrive in the town, the Jews believe that the Russians will soon defeat the Nazis. The Jews also believe that it's impossible for Hitler to exterminate an entire people and that such brutality is unthinkable in the 20th century. Most of the Jews speak about possibly emigrating to Palestine, though they do not do so, and they believe that the Nazis will never invade Hungary. Once the Nazis invade Hungary, the Jews believe that the Nazis will never reach their town. Even once they reach the town, the Jews believe the Nazis are polite until they start passing anti-Semitic laws. The Jews of Sighet react with disbelief to every bit of news and live in denial until they can't do so any longer.

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