In Night by Elie Wiesel, their are several instances of public hangings. Elie feels different about hanging the three men who steal soup, and the sad eyed angel. The public hangings are used as examples to what happens to prisoners if they break one of the rules. Elie has vivid memories about the public hanging. He tells us about them in the novel. One of the instances of a hanging, was when the sad eyed angel was hung.
He was a kap o in the camp Elie was in. Elie liked him because of his kindness. He seemed to be the only officer in the camp that had an ounce of compassion. He hung for knowing about a secret weapon stash and not telling about it. For Elie, this symbolized the death of hope.
This is where he started to loose faith in god. Another instance of a hanging, was when the three men where hanged for stealing soup. This did not effect Elie in the same way. He felt that they brought the death on themselves. They were paying the price for stealing the soup. He did not question the hanging.
He knew if you break the rules, you will be killed. It was common knowledge in the camps. I am sure the men knew this, they were just overcome with hunger and could not think strait. The hangings lowered Elies faith in god.
Everytime someone died in the camp, Elie would stop believing in god just a little more. This ended with the death of his father. The first hanging Elie witnessed, was devastating. He had never seen anything like it. One horrific experience for Elie was when one person did not die during the hanging. He did not weigh enough for the fall to break his neck.
He hung suffocating for a while. All the hangings were terrible experiences for Elie. Nobody could not walk away unaffected by the hangings. Every public killing deteriorated Elies faith.
The sad eye angel was the end of hope for Elie. After that, he understood the murderous nature of the Holocaust. Elie walked away a completely different person than how he entered.