Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel KBE (/ˈɛli vɪˈzɛl/; September 30, 1928 – July 2, 2016) was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Laureate. He was the author of 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. The Norwegian Nobel Committee described Wiesel as “one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world.” Wiesel explained his feelings during his acceptance speech:
“Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”
Elie Wiesel, excerpt from Night
Rest in Peace Mr. Elie Wiesel