How did they remove Elie's gold crown in the book Night?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As soon as Elie arrives at the work camp of Buna he goes through a perfunctory medical inspection. The primary purpose of the inspection is to see which prisoners had gold crowns. They would be examined by the dentist who would extract them. Elie avoids the extraction by telling the dentist he is sick. Elie reveals that this dentist had been running a "private traffic" of prisoner's gold. He was hanged by the SS. Soon, however, Franek, a foreman at the electrical warehouse, discovers Elie's gold tooth and demands it. Elie refuses but Franek begins to torment Elie's father. Because the old man is not good at "marching in step," Franek takes the opportunity to beat him every time he takes a misstep. Eventually Elie gives in and agrees to allow Franek to extract the gold crown. Franek laughs and even tells Elie he will take his ration of bread because the boy had kept him waiting. The tooth is pulled by a "famous dentist from Warsaw" in the lavatory "with the aid of a rusty spoon." Afterward, Franek becomes much kinder to Elie by sometimes giving him an extra ration of soup, but then, ironically, is quickly transferred. Elie comments, "I had lost my crown for nothing."

poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elie's gold crown is dramatically removed by a dentist from Warsaw who uses a rusty spoon to pull it out in a lavatory. This is done to satisfy Franek, a foreman who works at the electrical warehouse and who harasses Elie's father as a means of bullying Elie into giving up the tooth. 

This extraction occurs on the heels of Elie's first evasion of losing the tooth. Elie manages to avoid getting the crown pulled by a different dentist earlier on when he claims to be sick, effectively delaying the extraction. Much like Franek, this dentist had personal motivations for obtaining the tooth; he was trafficking the prisoners' gold privately rather than allowing it to become property of the Nazi forces.