Elie, along with the rest of the Jews in Sighet, was still in denial that they were in any peril as spring, 1944 arrived. They were convinced that the German forces would be so involved with the fighting on the Russian front that there would not be any soldiers left to fight against them.
The people were saying, 'The Red Army is advancing with giant strides...Hitler will not be able to harm us, even if he wants to...'
They were telling themselves that it was inconceivable, ridiculous to even suggest the possibility that the Germans might be a threat to Jews.
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!
Elie and his family and their friends understood that there was a war going on. They understood that the combatants were coming out of a country very close to their homes and that the leader of that country was obsessed with expanding his power by any means possible. They understood that Hitler hated the Jews and was making life very difficult in other areas. But they continued to tell themselves that in Sighet, they were isolated and insulated from the danger.