In Night, the phrase “the kingdom of night” implies the Holocaust and its overall environment. It reflects the horrible conditions many Jews lived under while being governed by Nazi authorities. The total darkness of this kingdom enveloped the narrator’s soul and sank it into despair.
Night is a book recounting Elie Wiesel’s painful experience in Buchenwald and Auschwitz camps in 1944–1945. In his work, Wiesel narrates his growing disgust with humanity and bitter resentment against God. Eliezer wonders why God remains indifferent and inactive despite all the horrors.
In this regard, the phrase “the kingdom of night” primarily relates to the realm of despair, pain, and debility. These experiences became even more acute because earlier, Elie’s life was calm and favorable. He simply could not foresee those events that he had to go through. Before 1944, he resided in an ordinary village. He enjoyed spending much time examining the Talmud and Jewish mysticism. Suddenly, everything had changed – trainloads for cattle, thirst, hunger, inhuman conditions and treatment, pipes, smoke, unbearable work, and fear emerged in front of the boy.
It is worth quoting the author’s words on this matter. They were said in his Acceptance Speech on December 10, 1986, on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Prize award. He notes, “I remember: it happened yesterday or eternities ago. A young Jewish boy discovered the kingdom of night. I remember his bewilderment; I remember his anguish. It all happened so fast.” He also adds, “No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace.”