In chapter one, Moishe the Beadle is one of the first Jews transported by the Nazis, and he witnesses unimaginable atrocities in the Galician forest, near Kolomay. Miraculously, Moishe the Beadle survives a shooting squad and manages to travel back to the small town of Sighet. When Moishe returns to Sighet, he desperately attempts to warn the citizens about the Nazis and begs them to skip town immediately. Moishe retells his horrific experiences but his warnings fall on deaf ears. Tragically, the Jewish citizens do not believe Moishe the Beadle and purposely dismiss his stories. Elie also mentions that some citizens believed that Moishe simply wanted their pity or had gone mad.
Shortly after Moishe the Beadle returns to Sighet to warn the citizens, the Nazi forces rapidly advance and end up taking control of their small town. The Nazis immediately segregate society and begin passing laws that discriminate against all Jewish citizens before they transport them to concentration camps.