"Even Moishe the Beadle had fallen silent. He was weary of talking. He would drift through synagogue or through the streets, hunched over, eyes cast down, avoiding people's gaze."

Despite Moishe’s desperate attempts to warn the Jews of Sighet of the grave dangers they face, his entreaties go unacknowledged and he falls silent. The rejection and criticism he faces, especially in the aftermath of the horrors he experienced, cause him to feel a sense of purposelessness and despair. If Moishe is a stand-in for Wiesel in that both yearn to tell the story of the Holocaust’s tragedies, then the silence that befalls him signifies the great sorrow and pain caused by the public’s ignorance of such narratives.

"We wanted to wait until after prayer. On the Appelplatz, surrounded by electrified barbed wire, thousands of Jews, anguish on their faces, gathered in silence." 

Thousands of Buna’s Jewish prisoners gather at the center of camp for a makeshift Rosh Hashanah service, and the silence which marks their assembly speaks to their shared feelings of hopelessness and emptiness. On a day which otherwise would allow individuals the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with God and others around them, the circumstances of this particular gathering render it almost impossible to speak words of forgiveness or repentance. This silence also emphasizes that, to some extent, all of the prisoners are experiencing their own internal struggles with the meaning of their faith. 

"I no longer accepted God's silence. As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest against him. And I nibbled on my crust of bread. Deep inside me, I felt a great void opening." 

The act of rebellion that Eliezer refers to is his failure to fast during Yom Kippur, a tradition which typically symbolizes a cleansing of the spirit and offers worshippers the opportunity to focus more deeply on their faith. For someone as devout as Eliezer once was, breaking the fast emphasizes just how far his trust in God has fallen. The divine silence that he rejects speaks to his new belief that not even God has the desire or power to change the course of the destruction the Jewish community faces. Here, silence represents apathy.

"I was walking through a cemetery. Among the stiffened corpses, there were logs of wood. Not a sound of distress, not a plaintive cry, nothing but mass agony and silence. Nobody asked anyone for help. One died because one had to. No point in making trouble."

During the prisoners’ evacuation from Buna, they stop in an abandoned village to take refuge from the heavy snowfall. This stop allows Eliezer to take in the true extent of the Nazis’ torture and the effect it has had on his community. Unlike earlier scenes where sufferers cried out in agony, this one features an eerie and deathly silence which signifies just how far the Nazis have come in their push to exterminate an entire culture. Not only are prisoners physically dying, but those who remain alive have completely lost their ability to vocalize their existence.