What Is the First Selection?

In Night, the first selection process at Auschwitz marked the first division in Elie’s family, with men and women being separated. During this process, the Nazis determined which prisoners were healthy enough for forced labor and which were not. Those who were deemed unfit were sent to the gas chambers. Elie lost his mother and sister during this initial selection, while he and his father were selected for labor.

One prisoner advised Elie and his father to lie about their ages during the selection to increase their chances of survival. Elie pretended to be older, and his father pretended to be younger. They followed the advice and were able to survive the selection. However, not all prisoners were helpful; some mocked the newcomers and reveled in their vulnerability. This shows how in extreme situations, people can either help or harm others, and how this behavior can affect the survival of those involved.

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Overall, the first selection in Night had a significant impact on Elie and his family, separating them and causing them to face the harsh reality of the concentration camp. The kindness and cruelty of fellow prisoners during this process also had a lasting impact on Elie and shaped his perception of humanity in the camp.


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