What was Bela Katz forced to do once he was chosen to work in the crematory because of his strength?

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After surviving the first selection process, Elie and his father are herded into a cramped barrack, where the SS officers force them to strip naked while armed inmates randomly strike them. Elie recalls the SS officers wandering throughout the room and selecting strong, sturdy men who are forced to work in the concentration camp's crematoria. Béla Katz--the son of an important merchant in their town--happened to arrive at the camp a week earlier and managed to slip Elie and his father a note that explained Katz's terrible experience. In the note, Katz wrote that he was selected because of his strength and muscular build. Tragically, he was forced to place his father's body into the furnace while working in the crematoria. Fortunately, Elie and his father are not selected for their strength and avoid working in such a horrific environment. Eventually, Elie and his father are forced to work in an electrical warehouse, which is one of the easier places to work in the concentration camp.

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Once the Jews arrive at Birkenau, the reception center for Auschwitz, there is a period of "selection." Obviously many of the Jews, especially the old, weak and sick, were selected for immediate extermination in the concentration camp's gas chambers and crematories. Elie's mother and one of his sisters were probably chosen for death at this initial selection. Elie and his father, however, are selected for slave labor. During this period the SS officers were also sorting out the prisoners to identify the most able among them. Those that were determined to be the strongest joined the "Sonder-Kommando" and went to work in the crematories. One such man was Bela Katz, who came from Elie's town. He was the son of a tradesman and had arrived with the first group of Jews from Sighet. When Bela found out that Elie and his father had arrived he got word to them as to his whereabouts and the awful news that he had actually had to put his own father into the oven of the crematory.

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