Near the end of chapter 4, Elie Wiesel recalls the time his group returned from work to find three gallows awaiting them. This hanging is different than most, which have become so commonplace that the condemned themselves never shed a tear when their appointed time to die arrives.
Horrifically, this time the group who will be hanged includes a young child. Elie remembers how the child stood "almost calm" and was biting his lips as he awaited his hanging.
The Lagerkapo refuses to administer this execution, so he is replaced by three SS guards. The condemned stand on chairs, and just before their chairs are kicked over, Elie hears a question: "Where is merciful God, where is He?"
Because he is so small, the child doesn't die immediately. Instead, he struggles in a space between life and death for more than half an hour, and Elie is forced to walk by and look at him—not quite dead but dying very slowly.
Again, the man asks, "For God's sake, where is God?"
This is a question that Elie and the other prisoners grapple with during their imprisonment and torture. How could God allow his people to suffer this way? Why doesn't God rescue them from their pain? How could God allow the torturous death of little children?
This is Elie Wiesel's night, the symbolism behind the title. He feels helplessly trapped in a world of darkness and evil, metaphorical night, and he longs for God to rescue him and his fellow prisoners.