Because the Nazis were transporting so many Jews into the concentration camps (it’s estimated that six million Jews died in the Holocaust), they had a system to rid them of the “weak” and “useless”. It would be difficult to keep all the Jews in camps alive, and of course, their belief in genocide caused them to make decisions on who will live, and who will die. Jewish men and boys could be used for work. Many worked in munitions factories or in other areas to help the Nazi war effort. Women and children were more expendable as Wiesel details in Night when his sister and mother are sent to the gas chambers on the “right”. Keeping mothers and their children together would manage panic as they made their way to their deaths. Separating families was just another form of inhumanity inflicted on the Jews during the Holocaust. Not knowing if your relatives were alive or dead must have been torture to the many still living in the concentration camps. The Nazi officers making the seemingly easy decision for them to spare some (“to the left”) while murdering others (“to the right”) also shows how difficult it must have been for those like Elie Wiesel who eventually survive the horrific conditions of the concentration camps.
In the book Night there is a time when everyone arrives at the camps and are set up to be assorted. The first thing that the Nazi party did was to split families apart and to make the men appear small and take their control away. The women were sent to the left to either be sent away to another cap, or they were sent to the gas chambers with their young.
The men were often used for hard labor and general labor. They would send them in a different direction. In Elie's case, he and his father were sent to the left meaning they would be in a labor camp. His mother and sister were sent to the right and on to their deaths.