| Quote #4
Anguish. German soldiers—with their steel helmets, and their death’s head emblem. Still, our first impressions of the Germans were rather reassuring. The officers were billeted in private houses, even in Jewish homes. Their attitude toward their hosts was distant, but polite. They never demanded the impossible, made no offensive remarks, and sometimes even smiled at the lady of the house. A German officer lodged in the Kahn’s house across the street from us. We were told he was a charming man, calm, likable, and polite. Three days after he moved in, he brought Mrs. Kahn a box of chocolates. The optimists were jubilant: "Well? What did we tell you? You wouldn’t believe us. There they are, your Germans. What do you say now? Where is their famous cruelty?"
What more can we say after that last line? Wiesel says it all. Well, if you really want our extra thought: the Sighet Jews deceive themselves with optimistic hopes for the future, blinding themselves to present danger.
| Quote #5
Little by little life returned to "normal." The barbed wire that encircled us in did not fill us with real fear. In fact, we felt this was not a bad thing; we were entirely among ourselves. A small Jewish republic … A Jewish Council was appointed, as well as a Jewish police force, a welfare agency, a labor committee, a health agency–a whole government apparatus.
The Jews of Sighet together create for themselves an illusion to sustain them while they are in the ghetto. They deceive themselves into thinking that they now have self-rule and that life in the ghetto is better than life before.
| Quote #6
At daybreak, the gloom had lifted. The mood was more confident. There were those who said:
While they await deportation, the Jews of Sighet attempt to maintain their self-deception and hope, at least externally; they don’t voice their dread of the unknown.