Baylor College Medical School

6. Night by Elie Wiesel

6. What was the ghetto?

At first, why were the Jews unconcerned about being placed in the ghettos?

Soon afterwards, what happened to make them change their minds?

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Even after the townspeople hear that the Fascists have come into power in Hungary, no one really worries until the Germans actually invade Hungary and arrive at Sighet itself. Even then, the Germans seem nice and friendly, at least until Passover, when the persecution of the Jews begins in full force. Jews are not allowed to leave their homes, are forced to give up their valuables, and are required to wear the yellow star. Next, two ghettos are set up, and everyone is relocated. Once again, however, life returns to "normal," with the Jews setting up organizations and socializing happily.

One day Eliezer's father is suddenly summoned to a meeting of the Jewish council. Family and neighbors wait up past midnight to hear whatever news Eliezer's father has to tell them. When he returns from the meeting, he tells them that all the Jews are to be deported to an unknown destination and that they will only be allowed one bag per person. Eliezer and the neighbors disperse to pack and wake everyone else up. Someone from outside the ghetto knocks on the door, but disappears before the door can be opened. Later, Eliezer discovers that it was a family friend in the Hungarian police trying to warn them to escape.


jill, what was the ghetto?

There were two ghettos in Sighet where the Jews were made to live. The ghettos were sections of the city that were often walled or fenced, and the Jews forced to live there were made to follow specific rules. Note, the Jews weren't allowed to live anywhere else and they had curfews which couldn't be broken.

Why were the Jews unconcerned about being placed in the ghettos