Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)
Tuesday, July 5th
Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has passed away at age 87.
Born in Romania in 1928, Elie Wiesel's family were highly respected in the Jewish community. He studied religious texts as well as literature. Wiesel was 15 when Germany invaded Hungary. He and his family were sent to Auschwitz, though he was later transferred to Buchenwald. Luckily, he survived the war, and was reunited with his two remaining sisters at an orphanage in France.
For many years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about his experiences, despite working for several French and Israeli newspapers. The manuscript that became his memoir, The Night, was 900 pages long when he finally decided to begin writing about the Holocaust. The final version was published in 1955 and translated into English in 1960.
Wiesel moved to the US in 1955, where he wrote over 40 books and served on the US Holocaust Memorial Council. He spearheaded the construction of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, and consistently spoke out against racism and humanitarian issues around the world. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
Elie Wiesel made activism the focus of his life, writing and speaking about the prevention of violence, which earned him countless awards and honorary degrees. He died on July 2nd in his home at the age of 87.