Night by Elie Wiesel

Why and for whom were the gallows set up the first time?

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The first person Elie sees hanged is the dentist who has been extracting gold teeth. He has been caught trafficking in gold teeth and so is condemned.

I think that around the same time Elie witnessed "Young Pipel" hung first. I think the hanging of the young boy Pipel affects Elie the most. As Elie witnesses the hanging of the young Pipel, he feels that it is his God who is hanging on the gallows. The death of the pipel is related to the death of Elie's faith in his God. Elie identifies with the death of the young Pipel because he undergoes a similar slow, painful spiritual death.