In chapter 5 of Night, what advice was Elie given to pass the selection process?

In chapter 5 of Night, the advice given to Elie to pass the selection process is to move his limbs to give himself some color, run rather than walk, not look at the SS, and not be afraid.



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After the New Year, the prisoners receive word of another selection process, where they will be physically examined by SS doctors to determine if they will continue working or be sent to the crematorium. Before the selection, Elie and the other prisoners receive advice from their experienced Blockälteste, who hasn't been outside the concentration camp since 1933. The Blockälteste proceeds to tell the prisoners their best chance of survival is to make themselves appear as healthy and physically fit as possible by moving their limbs and giving themselves color. He also instructs the prisoners to run as fast as they can as if the devil is at their heels.

In addition to warming up their limbs and sprinting to their positions, he also instructs the prisoners to not look at the SS officers examining them. Elie then recalls his last piece of advice, which is to not be afraid. Elie would have loved to follow this advice but struggles to control his mounting fear and uncertainty. Elie proceeds to undress and sprints behind Tibi and Yossi without looking back. In the back of Elie's mind, he worries that he is too skinny, weak, and frail to pass the selection. Fortunately, Elie runs so fast the guards cannot even see his number and he survives the selection process. Following the selection, Elie is filled with relief and happiness as he rejoices with Tibi and Yossi.

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Elie's block-elder hasn't been outside a concentration camp since 1933. Among other things, this means that he knows a lot about how the system works and the best strategies for survival.

His knowledge becomes particularly useful in relation to the selection process, when inmates are chosen by the Nazis to be sent to the gas chambers. This fate is meted out to those prisoners deemed unfit to be able to work, so it's essential that, in the forthcoming selection, Elie and the others do everything they can not to look too sick.

Fortunately for Elie, the block-elder is on hand to give him some much-needed advice. He tells Elie that he must try to move his limbs about to give himself some color. He also shouldn't walk slowly, but run. Again, the emphasis here is on trying to look fit for work. Not only should Elie run, but he should also run as if he had the devil at his heels. And when he runs, he should run straight ahead without looking at any of the SS guards.

But the most important piece of advice that the block-elder gives Elie is not to be afraid. As with all the other pieces of advice he's given him, it's easier said than done. But if Elie's going to maximize his chances of survival, he'll have to do what he can.

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Before this inspection, Elie Wiesel's Blockälteste (barrack) provides some strategies for immediate survival. He is a solid source of information since he has not been outside a concentration camp since 1933 and is still alive. He tells the group to move around, to get their joints and limbs working well so that they can perform when asked, to try to give themselves some color to look healthier, and, when asked, to "run as if you had the devil at your heels!" Elie considers this when his inspection arrives. He also makes it a personal goal not to show them the number on his left arm as he runs.

When asked, Elie begins running, but his thoughts keep cycling through the negative. He tells himself that he isn't fast enough. He tells himself that he is too skinny. Interestingly, these thoughts fuel him and his speed. When he stops, he asks someone if the officers had written his number down (indicating that he has been selected for death). The response:

"No," said Yossi. Smiling, he added, "Anyway, they couldn't have. You were running too fast.…"

Using the advice, Elie survives another day in a concentration camp.

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In Chapter 5, in order to pass the selection process, Elie is advised to move about so that he will have "a little color" before the selection.  He should also be careful not to walk slowly, in fact, he should run "as if the devil were after (him)".  As he is running, he should not look at the SS; he look straight in front of him.  And above all, he should not be afraid.

The head of Elie's block is a longtime veteran of the camps - he "had never been outside concentration camps since 1933...he had already been through all the slaughterhouses, all the factories of death".  A few moments before the selection process begins, he stands in the midst of the prisoners and tells them what the process will entail and how they might best ensure their survival.  He says that they must get completely undressed and "go one by one before the SS doctors".  It is imperative that they appear as healthy as possible, and that the doctors not be able to record their numbers as they pass by.

For this particular selection, three SS officers stand around "the notorious Dr. Mengele", known as "the angel of death".  As the prisoners run by one by one, Mengele takes stock of them and occasionally writes a number down.  When it is Elie's turn, he runs as fast as he can without looking back.  He is judged to be fit enough to continue to live, or else he runs so fast that the SS cannot see his number; either way, Elie survives the selection (Chapter 5).

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