In early 1942, the Jews of Sighet, Hungary were impervious to what the Germans had waiting for them. One day all of the foreign Jews of Sighet were expelled, including Elie’s friend Moshe The Beadle. Several months would pass by until Moshe returned. When he returned he explained to Sighet the horrors that he had witnessed the Germans doing. “Jews, listen to me. It’s all I ask of you. I don’t want money or pity. Only listen to me,” cried Moshe. “I did not believe him myself,” thought Elie.(Page 5) Wiesel had received a warning about an upcoming danger and had been told to save himself. Unfortunately for Elie, he did not take this chance that he got to escape from Sighet.
Years later in 1944, Elie and his father would have a conversation about moving to Palestine. “At the time, it was still possible to obtain emigration permits for Palestine.” “I’m too old my son. I’m too old to start from scratch again in a country so far away.” (Page 6) During this conversation, Elie recommended to his father that they should abandon what they have in Sighet and start a brand new life in the holy land of Palestine, where they would be completely safe from the Germans. Again Elie and his family missed another good opportunity to escape when Elie’s father rejected the plan, stating that he is too old to restart completely. Too bad for him, he would have managed to live a longer happier life had he left to Palestine.
“It was an inspector in the Hungarian Police, a friend of my fathers. If he could have spoken to us that evening, we could perhaps have fled… But by the time we had managed to open the window, it was too late. There was no one outside.” (Page 12) This represents another missed opportunity that the Wiesel family had to escape from German captivity. Had they gotten to the window a split second earlier, that moment in time could have saved the entire family from their fateful doom.
Later on when Elie and his father were at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, they were once again given a chance to decide there own fates. “For once we could decide our fate for ourselves. We could both stay in the hospital, where I could, thanks to my doctor, get him entered as a patient or a nurse. Or else we could follow the others.” (Page 78) Making another poor decision, Elie and his father chose the path of following the others onto the death march to Buchenwald. “I learned after the war the fate of those who stayed behind in the hospital. They were quite simply liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.” (Page 78) Unfortunately for the Wiesels, that poor choice would seal the fate of Elie’s father as he would become ill during the march, leading to his death later on.
In a way, the Wiesel family made a lot of poor decisions and missed a great deal of opportunities that they could have taken to escape from German captivity. Had they taken all the chances, the family could have perhaps lived a long pleasant life and could have died together in peace. On the other hand, all of them except for Elie would be executed in fire pits by SS guards at the concentration camps. A good lesson learned by Elie Wiesel throughout his time in captivity is that when opportunities arise, take them.