by Elie Wiesel
Night Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The trees were in bloom. It was a year like so many others, with its spring, its engagements, its weddings, and its births.
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 …"
Yes, we even doubted his resolve to exterminate us.
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! (1.44-47)
The Jews of Sighet deceive themselves. Their hope and optimism put them in danger; they don’t escape when they still have the opportunity.
In those days it was still possible to buy emigration certificates to Palestine. I had asked my father to sell everything, to liquidate everything, and to leave.
"I am too old, my son," he answered. "Too old to start a new life. Too old to start from scratch in some distant land…" (1.50-51)
Despite the signs of danger, Eliezer’s father refuses to emigrate when they have the opportunity. He has the false hope that the future in Sighet is still better than packing up and leaving for a new country.
The next day brought really disquieting news: German troops had penetrated Hungarian territory with the government's approval.
Finally, people began to worry in earnest. One of my friends, Moishe Chaim Berkowitz, returned from the capital for Passover and told us, "The Jews of Budapest live in an atmosphere of fear and terror. Anti-Semitic acts take place every day, in the streets, on the trains. The Fascists attack Jewish stores, synagogues. The situation is becoming very serious …"
The news spread through Sighet like wildfire. Soon that was all people talked about. But not for long. Optimism soon revived: The Germans will not come this far. They will stay in Budapest. For strategic reasons, for political reasons… (1.54-57)
The Jews of Sighet continue to deceive themselves to maintain a foolish optimistic notion that the Germans won’t come to Sighet. Again, these unfounded hopes about the future are dangerous, preventing the Jews from escaping when they are able.