Following the Jewish New Year in chapter 5, the Blockälteste announces to the prisoners that there will be another selection process and gives them valuable advice for passing the selection. The barrack leader explains that the prisoners must disrobe and stand before SS doctors, who will quickly examine them and determine whether they live or die. Elie and other prisoners are advised to move their limbs in order to give themselves more color and to run as if the devil is at their heels in order to appear healthier. The barrack leader also advises the prisoners not to be afraid or to look into the eyes of the officers.
Elie and the prisoners follow his instructions and sprint to their positions in front of the notorious Dr. Mengele and several SS officers. Elie can hardly process the entire scenario and runs as fast as he can during the selection. Fortunately, Elie survives the selection process and meets up with his father following the harrowing experience. When Elie sees his father, he says he passed the selection, and his father gives him a half ration of bread as a present. Elie's father managed to barter a piece of rubber used to repair a shoe for the half ration of bread, which underscores the terrible conditions in the concentration camp, where prisoners starve to death on a regular basis. The small present also illustrates the love Elie's father has for his son and demonstrates his compassion. Throughout the Holocaust, Elie relies on his father's love and support to survive.