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Elie Wiesel

             Through Elie Wiesel's gritty depiction of the treatment towards Jews in his homeland of Hungary we learn that much of the oppression inflicted by the Nazis began before the transportation to concentration camps. In order to make the eventual move to the camps more fluidly, the Germans had uprooted the Jews from their homes and relocated them to two "ghettos" - sections of town patrolled by Hungarian police and enclosed by barbed wire (p. 9). Wiesel states that the mood in the ghettos went from hopeful to disparity when his father was informed by the police that the Jews were to be deported (p. 11). .
             Once the actual deportation began the most harrowing early experiences for the deportees was the fear of unknowing they endured throughout the trip to Auschwitz. Madame Schacter (pp. 22-25) had begun to give the passengers of the trains an eerie premonition of their fate with her visions of "a terrible fire" and "flames" and a "furnace." These visions would soon become reality upon arrival at Birkenau, which was a reception area for the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
             Madame Schacter's apparent madness also put quite a strain on the psyche of many of the deportees as she brought them such vivid accounts of their eventual deaths. The passengers became so overwhelmed with fear that they began beating Madame to quiet her (p. 24). Madame Schacter, however, was not the only psychological torture the passengers would be subject to. After a couple of days of not eating or drinking, German townspeople began tossing scraps of bread into the train cars, watching the Jews scramble for them as a means of dehumanizing entertainment.
             It was at this concentration camp that the more real horrors of death and despair would come to fruition. Elie and his father would soon be separated eternally from the women of their family and would further witness the enflamed graves of many other Jews before them.

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