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At the end of chapter 2, Elie Wiesel arrives in Birkenau, part of the Auschwitz concentration camp. It is here, at the beginning of chapter 3, that Elie sees his mother and sister, Tzipora, for the last time. Once the men are separated from the women, the men are asked their ages. Elie is fifteen (15) and his father fifty (50). However, the person in charge of questioning the newcomers, an inmate, advises Elie that he should say he is eighteen (18) and his dad, forty (40). This lie is critical in the lives of the Wiesels. If they had told the truth, Elie could have been deemed too young to be of use at the camps and his father too old. Thus, the advice to lie about their ages is essential to the survival of both father and son.
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