In Night, describe the Kapos. How do the prisoners in Elie's block survive the New Year's selection?chapters 4-5

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Kapos were the men in charge of the blocks of men. Elie and his father were put on a work detail with some musicians and their first job was easy compared to what others had to do. They sat on the floor of a warehouse and sorted electrical parts all day long. One of their Kapos at the time was named Idek and he was cruel. He beat Elie unconscious once because Elie saw him having sex. He beat Elie's father near death because he said his father couldn't march in time with everyone else, but the real reason was because Elie refused to surrender his gold crown to Idek, which he eventually did anyway and got nothing for it. The New Year's selection was survived by running " as if the devil were at your heels". An SS told the prisoners to prepare by getting color into their ashen faces to appear healthy and to run. Elie did almost to the point of passing out. His father had a close call and was no immediately eliminated, but he did manage to survive this final selection before the two left the camp a short time later.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Kapos are the leaders of the organized prison work units, who typically choose their own workers from the large selection of prisoners. Since the Kapos are essentially prisoners with preferential treatment who report directly to SS officers, they often abuse the prisoners to gain favor. Unfortunately for Eliezer and his father, their Kapo is a brutal man named Idek. Throughout their time spent at Buna working in the electrical warehouse, both Eliezer and his father suffer severe beatings from Idek.

On New Year's, the prisoners try their best to pass through the selection process. Before the selection begins, the Blockälteste urges each prisoner to limber up in order to give their bodies more color, and to run "as if you had the devil at your heels!" Eliezer and the other prisoners follow the advice and sprint when their numbers are called. Fortunately, Eliezer and his father survive both selections.