After the Nazis take over Hungary, the Jews are persecuted, made to wear yellow stars, and forced to live in special Jewish ghettoes surrounded by barbed wire. Initially, the Wiesel family is allowed to stay in their home because it is at the edge of a designated ghetto area. They are forced to seal up the windows that look to the world outside of the ghetto, but otherwise their house remains the same.
It does become more crowded because they take in relatives who have been displaced. And while they experience a certain amount of anxiety over the events taking place, they and the rest of the community find being cordoned off behind barbed wire reassuring. They no longer have to look at angry German faces. They feel as if they are in their own little Jewish republic because they are left to manage their own affairs.
While the Jews in the ghetto are hopeful that they can remain there until the Soviet army that they believe is coming liberates them, they soon find out that the ghetto is being liquidated and that all of them will be transported. They do not know where they are going, just that they will be loaded onto trains and taken somewhere else. As we soon find out, Eliezer and his father will end up in Auschwitz.