Liquidation of the Dunaszerdahely GhettoSUMMARY: The Nazis' come and force Elli and the rest of her family onto cattle cars to Auschwitz, forcing them to leave all their belongings in the ghetto.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (NEGATIVE): At a young age, Elli understood that she would never see her belongings again and knew that she was bidding a solemn farewell to her childhood.
RELATION TO THE THEME: Elli had to sacrifice her innocent adolescence early on in order to survive, for rebelling against the Nazis meant death.
Arriving at AuschwitzSUMMARY: After being put on cattle cars, Elli and her family arrive at Auschwitz (where her remaining family was sent to either labor camps or gas chambers). She and her mother manage to survive selection.
TURNING POINT: Elli, arriving at Auschwitz, was demoralized and reduced to genderless non-human entities (losing her morality).
RELATION TO THEME: Like liquidation, Elli had to sacrifice a part of her humanity in order to survive the Jewish Holocaust (her identity) to being a faceless nobody.
Second SelectionSUMMARY: There is a second selection for the survivors of the first one and Elli is chosen. However, she escapes with her mother and goes on a train to Augsburg.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (POSITIVE): Elli lost her identity at Auschwitz, but for the first time in months, she found the will to fight for her life.
RELATION TO THEME: Elli knew the risks of rebelling against the Nazis, brutal physical beatings or death. She could've died if she was caught, but it was the only chance she had to survive.
Arriving at AugsburgSUMMARY: Elli and her mother arrive at the Augsburg labor camp, where they start to be treated like humans (receiving soap and an actual bed).
TURNING POINT: Auschwitz had treated Elli and her family as if they were wild animals. She is able experience the luxuries that she had to forgo at Auschwitz in Augsburg and begins to regain her identity.
RELATION TO THEME: Elli suffered through many sleepless nights in Auschwitz and executions, but she eventually made it to a safer haven (Augsburg).
Most of the Family Together AgainSUMMARY: Elli and her mother moved to another labor camp, which coincidentally was the same one that her older brother was sent to.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (POSITIVE): Against all odds, most of her family reunited. Families usually get separated from each other in the Holocaust, so seeing her brother gave her more incentive to survive.
RELATION TO THEME: Even though her family had reunited in a labor camp and they had to work to survive, seeing her brother numbed the pains she got from hard labor.
LiberationSUMMARY: After being trapped in the prisoner train cars by the Germans, Elli and her family get liberated by the U.S. Army. Most of the people are either dead, or very close to it.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (NEGATIVE): Elli, despite being free, feels no jubilation because she thinks as if she had lived for a “thousand years.”
RELATION TO THE THEME: Elli was haunted by the memories of the horrors she saw and overcame, but would never forget what she had to go through even though she survived.
Theme StatementPerseverance comes at a cost.