In Night, we see how many different people have become greedy in the war. Franek sees Elie's gold crown and demands Elie give it to him. Elie comes up with a couple of reasons as to why he can't give it to him, and finally tells him he needs to get his father's advice. Franek agrees but Elie knows that he will make his life hell until he gives in to him.
Unfortunately, Franek knew how to handle this; he knew my weak spot. My father had never served in the military and could not march in step. But here, whenever we moved from one place to another, it was in step. That presented Franek with the opportunity to torment him and on a daily basis, to thrash him savagely. Left, right: he punched him. Left, right: he slapped him.
Elie could not sit back and watch his father being treated this way, so he eventually gives in to Franek and gives him his crown. Although Elie has hard feelings towards his father, he still loves him deeply and wants to make sure he is okay, no matter the cost to himself.
In chapter 4 of "Night," Franek demands that Elie give him his crown and Elie refuses. He tells him several different reasons that he can't give up the crown including the excuse that he wouldn't be able to eat, then that he had to ask his father. Finally after getting tired of waiting, Franek began to abuse Elie's father. He knew that if he abused Elie's dad that Elie would give in and give him the gold crown. After watching his father be beaten and abused for two weeks Elie finally agreed and a dentist pulled the tooth. This satisfied Franek for a while but then two weeks after losing his crown the Polish prisoners were transferred and he felt that he had given up his crown for nothing. (pg 56)
It is an understatement to say that life in the concentration camps was awful for the Jews and others who were forced to live there, and stories like Night by Elie Wiesel demonstrate many of the horrors that those in the camps were forced to endure.
Of the many terrible things that happened to Elie, the incident with Franek is particularly frustrating to the boy. Franek is from Warsaw, a former student, and has become a foreman in the electrical warehouse where Elie and his father are sent to work.
Franek notices that ELie has a gold crown, and of course he demands that the boy give it up to him. Franek knows he can barter the gold for something he wants, so he is determined to get it. Elie is equally determined not to give it up, but he knows Franek well enough to know that he will seek revenge if his desire is thwarted.
Elie asks his father's advice and, after much consideration, he agrees with Elie and insists that his son keep the gold crown. When Franek learns that Elie intends to keep the crown, the trouble begins. Elie recounts for us what happens next:
Unfortunately, Franek knew how to handle this, he knew my weak spot. My father had never served in the military and could not march in step. But here, whenever we moved from one place to another, it was in step. That presented Franek with the opportunity to torment him and, on a daily basis, to thrash him savagely. Left, right: he punched him. Left, right: he slapped him.
Elie tries to spare his father this torment based solely on revenge by giving his father marching lessons; however, his father is not able to learn quickly enough to spare himself the beatings Franek was so eager to give.
For two weeks this abusive behavior and Elie's instruction continued, and Elie finally gave in and agreed to let Franek take the gold crown. Franek gloats, of course, and demands Elie's ration of bread in order to pay Franek's "famous" dentist friend for removing the crown. Of course this adds insult to injury, and Elie is even more unhappy about what he has to do.
The dentist takes the crown out of Elie's mouth in the camp latrines (bathrooms) using a rusty spoon, and Franek does seem to treat Elie and his father well after that, even giving them extra rations of soup when he can. Unfortunately, the benefits of Elie's sacrifice are short-lived.
Two weeks after the crown was extracted, all of the Poles were taken out of the camp, including Franek. Of course Elie was frustrated that he had sacrificed his gold crown (one of the only things he truly possessed) for such a nominal return.
If you're looking for more great analysis and insights on this story or about Elie Wiesel, be sure to check out the excellent eNotes sites linked for you below.