“But it was in vain. Our terror was about to burst the sides of the train. Our nerves were at breaking point. Our flesh was creeping. It was as though madness were taking possession of us all. We could stand it no longer.” (23)
The people of Sighet didn’t know much about anything outside of the protective mountain tops. They had always viewed the mountains as a protective barrier from the war, but what they didn’t know was that they were instead preventing information from reaching the small villages. The people of Transylvania knew very little about the Nazi death and concentration camps, even thought the war had been going on for some time. the people believed that they would stay in there homes and would not be bothered by the war because of their protective natural boundary, but they were wrong. In the ghetto in Sighet, the Nazi’s were lenient about the Jews moving freely in and out of the ghettos, due to the mountains that were suppose to prevent the Nazi’s from entering Transylvania were now trapping in the Jews. Almost everything that the Nazi’s did was new to the Jews.
Soon after the trains, containing hundreds of people, were well past Sighet. The confusion, fear, and distress began to settle in with the passengers. The people of Sighet had never heard of the destination, were they were being taken. According to F.D.R, “there is nothing to fear, but fear itself” which was exactly what the trapped prisoners were doing. They were afraid of the unknown and afraid of being afraid. They wanted to ignore all thoughts of fear, they were so terrified, and yearned for peace to calm there nerves, that they beat one of their neighbors who was trying to warn them of the crematories. But just like they had done in their home town to Moche the Beadle, a man who had survived a Nazi shooting and come back to warn the Jews of the dangers, they ignored their warnings and stated that the people were crazy. The outcome could have been different for the Jews if they had listened to the warnings, or had banned together to form a resistance but they were so afraid that they couldn’t do anything but panic.
“I’m afraid… I’m afraid… that they’ll break my violin... I’ve brought it with me.” (89)
As the men are piled on top of each other to seek shelter and to escape the wrath of the Nazi’s, Elie’s only thoughts were to breath and to find his father. Other men were being over come by death or taking a last breath as their bodies were crushed by the weight of hollow bones. As Elie searched for his father he was reunited with a man that he had met in his earlier years at the camp. Julieck, the violinist was not searching for a loved one, or trying to untangle himself from the men, but he was instead focused on the safety of his precious violin. Unlike the other prisoners who’s possessions had been stolen, Julieack was allowed to keep his violin in order to make German marching music for the workers. That was the only thing that he was aloud to have from home and it was an object that held memories of his past and previous family. His violin was the only gateway open out of the concentration camps, or a way to express ones feelings. Music was the only thing keeping Juliack alive, the only thing that he feared the Germans would take away. So when all of these men were crushing, he did not worry about his body being destroyed but more of the flame of his soul and music being extinguished. His violin was much like a diary in a since that all of his feelings and thoughts were put into the music he played. All of the hell that he had gone through to survive, all of the hardships, and pain emotionally and physically was showcased though the strings on his instrument. To kill his violin would be like to melt a necklace passed down from generation to generation or to break the memories of the past that a person holds on to. Unfortunately though Juileck’s worst fears come true when his melody is crushed as the small fragile body of the…