In Night, why is the Jewish population of Sighet optimistic right up until their deportation to Auschwitz?

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The Jews of Sighet remained optimistic up until the point of deportation due to a combination of unawareness and denial. Although Moshe the Beadle returns to warn them of the mass extermination inflicted upon foreign Jews removed from Sighet at the hands of the Gestapo, the locals attribute his stories...

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The Jews of Sighet remained optimistic up until the point of deportation due to a combination of unawareness and denial. Although Moshe the Beadle returns to warn them of the mass extermination inflicted upon foreign Jews removed from Sighet at the hands of the Gestapo, the locals attribute his stories to an overactive imagination and desire for pity. Despite knowledge of Hitler's antisemitic vendetta, they question both the desire and capability of the Nazi regime in wiping out millions of people. Although the war is ongoing in the spring of 1944, news of the Russian army's progress lulls the Jews of Sighet into a false sense of security, allowing them to carry on comfortably at home rather than disrupting life to emigrate to Palestine.

They remain unconcerned when the Fascist party comes into power in Hungary and experience only mild anxiety when German troops enter the country, assuming the events will have no bearing on local affairs in Sighet. Since the genocide inflicted by the Nazis was unprecedented, it is not a complete surprise that the Jews of Sighet, as well as those of many other places, simply did not comprehend the severity and scope of the Nazi regime until it was too late to flee.

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In Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night, chapter one goes into detail about what Elie’s life was like in the two years leading up to the German invasion of Hungary. From these pages the reader learns that Sighet’s Jewish community is not worried about the rumors of what Hitler is doing to the Jewish people. Even the horrific story told by Moshe the Beadle seems to have no effect on them. Even when the Nazi’s invade in the spring of 1944, no one Elie knows attempts to flee.

There are many reasons why the Jews of Sighet are optimistic until the very end. First of all, the radio reports suggest that the advancing Soviet army will drive the Nazis out of Europe for good. Because of this, many Jews in Sighet believe that the war will not last long enough for Hitler to interfere with their lives. The second reason is that the rumors they do hear seem too outrageous to believe. Moshe the Beadle tells the truth when he describes the Nazis using Jewish babies for target practice. Yet it does not make sense to most people that Germany, a country known for its literature, art, and scientific advances, would have the capacity to do something so barbaric.

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