Chapter 1

What happens to Moshe the Beadle?

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One day Moché and other non-Hungarian Jews are deported by Hungarian police, but the incident is forgotten by the other Jews and dismissed as a normal wartime practice.

Several months later, Moché returns, having escaped from a concentration camp in Poland. He tries to warn the townspeople of the atrocities that he has seen, but no one believes him. Everyone thinks he is trying to win sympathy or has simply gone insane. He tells Eliezer that he miraculously survived the concentration camps in order to save the Jews in Sighet, but life continues on as normal during 1942 and 1943. Eliezer devotes himself to his religious studies, his father busies himself in the Jewish community, and his mother tries to find a husband for Hilda.