The Jewish prisoners were forced to move from the camp at Buna by the German soldiers. This was because the front came dangerously close to the camp. The prisoners were forced to run an estimated twenty kilometers to Gleiwitz. Most of them died along the way. More prisoners died on arrival because of hunger, fatigue and the biting cold. The prisoners, who survived, stayed in Gleiwitz for three days, without food or water.
The selection occurred on the third day at the camp. The prisoners were led to the center of the camp and split into two groups, the weak and the strong. Those who were weak were signaled to the left while the strong went to the right. Eliezer's father was selected to go to the left. This prompted Eliezer to run after him. The SS men attempted to pursue him, but in the ensuing confusion, several prisoners including Eliezer and his father switched to the right side. This was how the two managed to survive the selection at Gleiwitz. Eliezer saved his father by creating the confusion.
The SS officers were doing the selection: the weak, to the left; those who walked well, to the right.
My father was sent to the left. I ran after him. An SS officer shouted at my back: "Come back!"
I inched my way through the crowd. Several SS men rushed to find me, creating such confusion that a number of people were able to switch over to the right—among them my father and I.