1. Who was Moshe the Beadle?
Moshe was the caretaker at the Hasidic synagogue.
2. What does Wiesel tell the reader of Moshe?
He was poor and lived humbly. He was physically awkward and a dreamer who could appear to be so insignificant as to almost disappear.
3. How does Wiesel describe himself as a boy of 12?
He was a serious student of religion who studied the Talmud during the day and prayed at night.
4. How does Wiesel describe his father?
He was a man of learning and culture who was highly regarded by the Jewish community.
5. Why did Elie’s father prohibit him from studying the Cabala? He felt that Elie was too young and should first learn basic subjects.
6. How did Wiesel realize his wish to study the Cabala?
He began studying with Moshe the Beadle. The two would talk and read for long hours over the mystical texts.
7. What happened to Moshe?
He was expelled from the village of Sighet because he was a foreign Jew.
8. Several months later, Elie saw Moshe the Beadle again. What story did Moshe tell? T-2
The train carrying Moshe and the other deportees traveled to Poland where the Gestapo took charge. The Jews were forced from the train and taken to a nearby forest, where they dug huge graves. The Jews stepped up to the graves they had just dug and were then slaughtered by the Gestapo.
9. How was Moshe able to escape?
He was wounded in the leg and pretended he was dead. Later, he was able to escape.
10. How had Moshe changed as a result of his experience?
He no longer had any joy in his eyes and no longer sang. He would not talk of the Cabala any more, but only of what he had seen.
11. How did other people in the village react to Moshe’s story? Why do you suppose they reacted this way?
No one believed his story; some refused even to listen to him. They refused to believe it was true because it was too frightening to comprehend. They also felt that bad things happen only to other people. 12. In the spring of 1944, what political changes occurred in Hungary? The Fascist, or Nazi, Party was in power, and German troops had entered Hungarian territory.
13. What was the attitude of the Jews of Sighet?
At first they were anxious, but were soon optimistic again. They continued to deny the reality of what was occurring around them.
14. What literary device does Wiesel employ to emphasize the foolish optimism and denial of facts of the Jews living in Sighet? How is it used?
Irony. For example, the townspeople ask each other, “Where is their [the Nazi’s]famous cruelty?”Another example is, “The Jews of Sighet continued to smile.” Both Wiesel and the reader know very well how cruel the Germans were. The fate of the Jews has already been set, and all they can do is smile and hope that it all goes away.
15. After the Germans arrived in Sighet, what was the prevailing attitude among the residents? The Germans behaved politely at the beginning of the occupation, so the people believed that nothing further would happen.
16. After Passover, Wiesel says, “the curtain rose.” What does this refer to? What happened?
The leaders of the Jewish community were arrested and various restrictions against Jews were enforced, including the decree that every Jew must wear the yellow star. The statement could mean several things. It signified the beginning of the horrible story of the destruction of the Jew acted out on the stage of the town of Sighet. It could also imply that the curtain of denial was removed from the townspeople’s eyes, and they finally began to see the reality of their situation. They were doomed.
17. What was bitterly ironic about the comments that Wiesel’s father made regarding the wearing of the yellow star?
The father said in effect that wearing a yellow star cannot kill anyone. Both the reader and the narrator, though, know what comes next.
18. What was the Germans’ next step?
Two ghettos were established in Sighet, and every Jew was...