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In the nightmare world of the concentration camps, the Nazis replace God. Eliezer describes the scene at the selection: "All the prisoners in the block stood naked between the beds. This must be how one stands at the last judgment." The reference to the last judgment is a religious allusion to the end of the world, when God will decide who will be saved into heaven. In the perverse world of the concentration camps, Dr. Mengele takes on the role of God, deciding who will live and who will die. He casually wields the power of life or death over the prisoners, writing down identification numbers at will. In this world there is no justice and no goodness: everyone is at the mercy of the Nazis and their minions. And even though the head of the block tells the prisoners that no one will die, no one believes him. When he eventually reads out the numbers of those destined for the crematories, the prisoners know that the perverse justice of the Nazis has finally caught up with them: "We had understood. These were numbers chosen at the selection. Dr. Mengele had not forgotten."