In Night by Elie Wiesel, why was the dentist executed?

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The dentist is executed for corruption, for stealing gold teeth from the Jewish prisoners and selling them. As far as the Nazis are concerned, these gold teeth are state property; they belong to the Reich and so any unauthorized attempts to sell them constitute a very serious crime indeed.

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The dentist is executed for corruption, for stealing gold teeth from the Jewish prisoners and selling them. As far as the Nazis are concerned, these gold teeth are state property; they belong to the Reich and so any unauthorized attempts to sell them constitute a very serious crime indeed.

The irony here is that the Nazis themselves are thieves. The gold teeth rightly belong to the Jewish prisoners, not them. But in the Nazis' warped ideology it's the dentist who's committing the serious crime here. Technically, he's a thief, but he only sells the gold teeth he extracts out of necessity, to keep himself alive. The Nazis, however, are motivated by nothing other than pure greed. Not content with murdering Jews, they must also steal from them to line their own pockets.

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In Night, author Elie Wiesel is called to the dentist because he has a gold crown on one of his teeth. The Nazis would have gold crowns removed from their prisoners and then melt the gold down to help fund the war effort or to line their own pockets in some cases. Elie tells the dentist he is not feeling well, so the dentist, who Elie describes as a man who "... had a face like a death mask" (Wiesel 49), tells Elie to come back as soon as he is feeling better. 

Elie goes back and again tells the dentist he is feeling sick, so he is given one more reprieve. Soon after this, Elie discovers that the dentist has been arrested and put in prison for selling the gold teeth for his own profit. His sentence would be death by hanging. In other words, the dentist was executed for taking money from selling prisoners' teeth which the Nazis claimed as theirs.

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