Elie Wiesel’s Night tells the story of Elie’s early life as a Holocaust victim in several Nazi concentration camps in the final year-and-a-half of World War II.
In the opening chapters of the book, Elie writes about the incremental power grab by the Nazis in his home of Sighet, Romania. Wiesel describes a cause and effect chain in which the cause, complacence by the Jews of Sighet, results in the effect, their easy capture, deportation, and imprisonment by the German Nazis, that drives the rest of the story.
The first event in this chain comes when Elie’s mentor is deported:
And then, one day all foreign Jews were expelled from Sighet. And Moshe the Beadle was a foreigner.
However, the Jews do not heed the warning:
The deportees were quickly forgotten.
As time goes on, the Jews continue to ignore more signs of their impending disaster:
- Moshe tells the story of the Nazi slaughter of the other Jews that were expelled with him.
- The Nazis show up on Sighet but appear to be friendly.
- The Nazis move the Jews into ghettos.
- The Nazis deport the Jews on trains to Poland.
During this time, Elie and his family, and many other Jews, had opportunities to escape. However, their choice to ignore the danger the resulted in their utltimate demise: when the Jews finally arrive in the concentration camps they realize once and for all that they have been fooling themselves.
To sum up, the causes are the Jews various refusals to recognize that serious trouble was coming in the form of the Nazis. The effect was their deportation, imprisonment, and for many, death.