Elie lived a fairly comfortable life at the beginning of Night and had no real reason to anticipate that things might change. He was the only son of a highly regarded Jewish businessman and community leader. He was deeply religious and frustrated that his father would not support his wishes to learn more about the Jewish mystical beliefs, but Elie's friend Moshe helped him with beginning a study of that area.
Elie, listening to the attitudes of his father and the other adult leaders of the Jewish community in Sighet, felt secure in Hungary. They did not believe those who spread alarms about the actions of the German nation and Hitler.
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! And thus my elders concerned themselves with all manner of things-strategy, diplomacy, politics, and Zionism-but not with their own fate.
Because of this purposeful ignorance of warning signs in the events that happened in other places, the Jews of Sighet, including Elie, viewed the world as not being a threat to them until it was too late to save themselves from the impending disaster.
As a young boy, Eliezer concerned himself with Jewish religious studies. He read the Talmud during the day, and at night he would spend his time at the synagogue. Despite his father’s disapproval of his wish to study Jewish mysticism, Eliezer still managed to find himself a teacher in Moshe. Eliezer was convinced that he had a religious calling. His family asserted that his place was at school. Eliezer was the third child and only son of Shlomo Wiesel. Eliezer’s life was comfortable. They owned a shop, his father was a highly respected member of the society in Sighet, and the situation there was peaceful. Eliezer, like the rest of Sighet, did not believe Moshe’s account of what happened during his deportation. Eliezer was convinced that such a thing could not occur. He could not comprehend how such an event could happen in a modern world.