I continued to devote myself to my studies, Talmud during the day and Kabbalah at night. My father took care of his business and the community. My grandfather came to spend Rosh Hashanah with us so as to attend the services of the celebrated Rebbe of Borsche. My mother was beginning to think it was high time to find an appropriate match for Hilda.
Thus passed the year 1943.
Spring 1944. Splendid news from the Russian Front. There could no longer be any doubt: Germany would be defeated. It was only a matter of time, months or weeks, perhaps.
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!
And thus my elders concerned themselves with all manner of things—strategy, diplomacy, politics, and Zionism—but not with their own fate.
Even Moishe the Beadle had fallen silent. He was weary of talking. He would drift through synagogue or through the streets, hunched over, eyes cast down, avoiding people's gaze.
Continue Reading Night
Sixty-one years later, Elie Wiesel and Oprah travel back to Auschwitz, the death camp at which Elie was ultimately an inmate. Take a look.
More from Your Guide toNight