Moshe the Beadle is a poor Jewish citizen living in Sighet and the first character introduced in the story. Moshe becomes close friends with Elie and teaches him the secrets of the Kabbalah before he is transported to the Galician forest, where he witnesses atrocities and narrowly escapes with his life.
Before Moshe was deported, the citizens of Sighet naively believed that they would never suffer at the hands of the Nazis and felt as if they had nothing to fear. However, the Nazis gradually make their way toward the small town and begin working in conjunction with the Hungarian police. One day, Moshe the Beadle and the other foreign Jews in the town of Sighet are transported to the Galician forest in Polish territory, where the Gestapo brutally murder the defenseless foreign Jews.
Moshe miraculously survives the ordeal and manages to travel back to Sighet to warn the Jewish citizens of their impending fate. Moshe recognizes that it is only a matter of time before the Nazis invade Sighet and begin transporting the Jewish citizens. Moshe shares his story with the citizens, who are incredulous and believe he is mad. Elie mentions,
But people not only refused to believe his tales, they refused to listen. Some even insinuated that he only wanted their pity, that he was imagining things. Others flatly said that he had gone mad.
Moshe is deeply hurt when people refuse to believe his experience, and Elie asks why he is so adamant about sharing his story. Moshe responds by saying,
I wanted to return to Sighet to describe to you my death so that you might ready yourselves while there is still time.
Tragically, the naive, ignorant Jewish citizens regret dismissing Moshe's warnings when they are forced to live in ghettos before being transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp.