In 1944 Elie, his family and the rest of the town were placed in one of the two ghettos in Sighet. Elie and his family lived in the larger of the two, on Serpent Street. On May 16, 1944, the Hungarian authorities allowed the German army to deport the Jewish community in Sighet to Auschwitz Birkenau. While at Auschwitz, his inmate number, "A-7713", was tattooed onto his left arm. Wiesel was separated from his mother and sister Tzipora, who are presumed to have died at Auschwitz. Wiesel and his father were sent to the attached work camp Buna-Werke, a subcamp of Auschwitz III Monowitz. He managed to remain with his father for a year as they were forced to work under appalling conditions and shuffled between three concentration camps in the closing days of the war. On January 29, 1945, just a few weeks after the two were marched to Buchenwald, Wiesel's father died from dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion, and was later sent to the crematorium, only months before the camp was liberated by the American Third Army on April 11.

 

Never Shall I Forget

Never shall I forget that night,
the first night in the camp
which has turned my life into one long night,
seven times cursed and seven times sealed.

Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the little faces of the children
whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke
beneath a silent blue sky.

Never shall I forget those flames
which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence
which deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.

Never shall I forget those moments
which murdered my God and my soul
and turned my dreams to dust.

Never shall I forget these things,
even if I am condemned to live
as long as God Himself.

Never.

-Elie Wiesel