Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel Dead at 87
JNS.org – Holocaust survivor, author and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel has died at the age of 87, according to a spokesman from Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem and Wiesel’s son Elisha Wiesel on Saturday.
Wiesel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 and served as Chairman of The Algemeiner‘s Tribute Committee, is known for writing the book “Night,” in which he told the story of his family’s experience during the Holocaust. The book became the first work in a trilogy along with the books “Dawn” and “Day.” Wiesel also wrote more than 40 other works of nonfiction and fiction.
“Maybe there are no words for what happened. Maybe somehow, the Germans … the cruel killers have succeeded at least in one way, at least that it deprived us, the victims, of finding the proper language of saying what they had done to us, because there are no words for it,” he is known to have said.
The Romanian-born Wiesel, who was 15 when he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, was also known for working to discover the location of Nazi war criminals in the years since World War II. He also worked as a journalist for various publications, including by covering the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. He campaigned for the immigration of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry to Israel, and criticized the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama for pressing Israel to halt construction in Judea and Samaria.
Aside from the issue of the Holocaust, Wiesel also served on the International Council of the Human Rights Foundation, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, the 1990s genocide in Yugoslavia and other human rights violations around the world.
Wiesel “gave expression through his exceptional personality, and fascinating books about the victory of the human spirit over cruelty and evil. In the darkness of the Holocaust in which our brothers and sisters — six million — were murdered, Elie Wiesel was a ray of light and greatness of humanity who believed in the good in man,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I was privileged to know Elie and to learn so much from him,” he said.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said in a statement on Wiesel’s death that he “was more than a revered writer. He was also a teacher for many of us. He taught us about the horrors of Auschwitz. He taught us about Judaism, about Israel, and about not being silent in the face of injustice.”
“Instead of giving in to despair, the face of evil and cruelty that at the time was the darkest of humanity, he carried all the way through the message of tolerance and peace for all peoples of the world,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who gave Wiesel the medal of Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem earlier this year, NBC News reported.
Wiesel is survived by his wife, son, stepdaughter and two grandchildren.