why are the Jews of the town so complacent to the changes taking place around them?


Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

important theme in the novel concerns the inadvertent role that the Jews played in their own destruction. In the first section of the book, Eliezer is haunted by the complacency and foolish optimism of the Jews in Sighet. Despite Moché's warnings, news of the German invasion of Hungary, and even imminent deportation, the Jewish people refuse to believe that anything bad will happen to them. As long as possible, they try to maintain life as normal and even cast a positive light on their situation. For example, when the Jews are forced to move into ghettos, the townspeople act relieved that they no longer have to deal with overt prejudice: "We should no longer have before our eyes those hostile faces, those hate-laden stares. Our fear and anguish were at an end. We were living among Jews, among brothersŠ" Of course, it is not an improvement for the Jews to be thus segregated, and such passages would be ironic, were they not so tragic. Eliezer reveals how naïve and trusting the Jews were, and he is obviously haunted by how his own family could have easily escaped the horrors of the concentration camps simply by leaving town a little bit earlier. Though the innocence of the Jewish townspeople is painfully foolish in retrospect, Eliezer does not fault his family and neighbors for being so reluctant to leave Sighet. Although his narrative is filled with regret and a little guilt, he is careful to point out that the optimism of the Jewish townspeople is simply a survival strategy: "These optimistic speeches, which no one believed, helped to pass the time."