Elie Wiesel was born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania,
which is now part of Romania. He was fifteen years
old when he and his family were deported by the
Nazis to Auschwitz. His mother and younger sister
perished, his two older sisters survived. Elie and
his father were later transported to Buchenwald,
where his father died shortly before the camp was
liberated in April 1945.
After the war, he studied in Paris and later became a journalist. During an interview with the distinguished French writer, Francois Mauriac, he was persuaded to write about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir, La Nuit or Night (1960) which has since been translated into more than thirty languages.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Elie Wiesel as Chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980, he became the Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is also the Founding President of the Paris-based Universal Academy of Cultures and the Chairman of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization he and his wife created to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice. Winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, he has received more than 100 honorary degrees and is the author of more than forty books of fiction and non-fiction.
An interview (from 1996 but still relevant).
This article was originally published in September 2005, and has been updated for the
January 2007 paperback release.
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