What opportunities did Elie Wiesel's family have to leave Sighet before they were deported to concentration camps? 

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elie Wiesel's family had two opportunities to avoid deportation to Nazi concentration camps in his memoir Night. In the spring of 1944 it was still possible for Jews in the Transylvanian town of Sighet "to obtain emigration permits for Palestine." Wiesel, then just a teenager, does ask his father to sell his business and move. The father, however, says he is too old and it would be difficult "to start from scratch" in a new country. Wiesel's father evidently believed nothing would happen to him and his family. By all accounts, the Germans were losing the war and, despite the harrowing stories of Moshe the Beadle, optimism ruled the day.

Later, after the family has been moved to the "little ghetto," Martha, the family's former maid, pleads with them to come to her village where she could give them refuge. Again Wiesel's father refuses. He tells Elie and his sisters that they can go but he is staying with his wife and the their youngest child. The father was still under the illusion that nothing bad could happen. His refusal to heed warnings, first by Moshe and later by Martha, proved to be catastrophic for the family.  

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