Elie Wiesel was born in the town of Sighet in Transylvania. He was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz, where his mother and younger sister perished. Wiesel and his father were later taken to Buchenwald, where is father died before the camp was liberated in 1945.
After the war, Wiesel became a journalist and writer in Paris. During an interview with the French writer Francois Mauriac, Wiesel became convinced that he should no longer remain silent about what he had witnessed as a prisoner in the Nazi death camps, and he subsequently wrote Night, an austere and deeply moving account of his experience during the Holocaust. Since its publication in 1960, Night has been translated into thirty languages.
Mr. Wiesel is an active spokesman for peace and human rights all over the world. He has worked on behalf of Soviet Jews and also the State of Israel, and has helped the relatives of “the disappeared” in Argentina. He has spoken out for victims in Rwanda and Ethiopia, for the Cambodian Boat People, against apartheid in South Africa, and in support of peace and human rights in Central America and the former Yugoslavia.
Mr. Wiesel’s achievements as an author and human rights activist have earned him the rank of Grand Officer in the French Legion of Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. He has been selected for inclusion as one of fifty great Americans in the fiftieth anniversary edition of Who’s Who in America. Three months after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. Its mission is to advance the cause of human rights and peace throughout the world by creating a new forum for the discussion of urgent ethical and moral issues confronting humankind. The first major project of the foundation was an international conference of Nobel laureates in which seventy-five laureates from five continents met to discuss some of the most critical moral and ethical issues of our time. Subsequently, there have been conferences in Boston, Haifa, Oslo, Moscow, Hiroshima, Prague, and Venice.
Elie Wiesel has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University since 1976. He has written more than thirty-five books and more than thirty books have been written about him. He has won numerous literary awards, as well as honorary degrees from more than ninety American and European universities. The first volume of his memoirs, All Rivers Flow to the Sea, was published in the fall of 1995. Professor Wiesel has been an American citizen since 1963 and lives in New York with his wife and son.