What advice was Elie given to pass the selection process?
Upon arriving in Auschwitz, Elie is advised that he and his father should lie about their ages. Elie, who is 15, is told he should say he is 18. His father, who really is 50, is told he should say he is 40. This advice comes from a fellow inmate. "Not fifty. You're forty. Do you hear? Eighteen and forty" (30). They are advised to lie about their ages to survive. At 15, Elie may be viewed as too young, and at 50, his dad could be seen as too old to be useful.
Although Elie is not comfortable with lying, once he reaches Dr. Mengele, he tells him he is 18. Furthermore, he tells him that he is a farmer, rather than telling him he is a student. This is done because a farmer could be viewed as someone who is physically stronger than a student, and therefore, more useful to the Nazis.
"Listen carefully to what I am going to say, in a few moments the selection will begin. You must get completely undressed. Then one by one you go before the SS doctors. I hope you will all succeed on getting through. But you must help your own chances. --> Before you go into the next room, move about in some ways so that you give yourselves a little color. Don't walk slowly, run! Run as if the devil was after you! Don't look at the SS. Run, straight in front of you! <--" ~Page 67.
I am not sure of the exact quote but the advice was to just keep running because it made you look physically fit, and yoou must be fit in order to be selected.