Survivor of the Holocaust
Wiesel's Difficult Childhood
In 1944, Elie Wiesel and his family, including three sisters, were sent to Auschwitz, a Jewish internment camp run by the Nazis in World War II. Wiesel lived there for a year before being freed, although his parents and younger sister did not survive.
Elie Wiesel was 16 when he first went to Auschwitz, and he was 84 years old in 2012. He had a childhood that was full of tragedy and loss, and he used this to inform his writing, including his multiple award-winning book "Night."
An Award-Winning Author
Elie Wiesel has won more than 40 awards for the dozens of books he has written. He has also done much work as an activist. In 1986, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his messages about the state of mankind. He does not underestimate the importance of literature in changing people's minds, and Wiesel has said, "Whatever I have to say, I have said it in the books."
Today, Wiesel continues to be an inspiring and influential person, doing work as a professor, speaker, activits, and author. His numerous awards include the Normal Mailer Prize, the Medal of Liberty, the Star of Romania, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Perhaps the most famous of his works, Night is Wiesel's autobiography, covering his teenage experiences during WWII and at Auschwitz. His other books, including Evil and Exile, One Generation After, and All Rivers Run to the Sea, all cover various topics about what humans can do to prevent indifference and hatred.
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference," Wiesel has said.
Turning Suffering Into Hope
Even though Elie Wiesel suffered such a great deal in his early years, with his parents and sisters victims of the Holocaust, he has used his experiences to bring hope to others. Wiesel speaks of the potential for good in mankind, and he continues to inspire millions with his words and deeds. For that reason, Elie Wiesel continues to survive as a symbol of what can be achieved if we refuse to give into despair and indifference.