Saturday, July 5, 2008


Born: September 30, 1928
Sighet, Romania

Romanian-born American writer and teacher

Romanian-born American writer, speaker, and teacher Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, the massive killing of Jews by the Nazis, Germany’s radical army during World War II (1939–45; a war fought between the Axis powers: Italy, Germany, and Japan—and the Allies: England, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States). Wiesel is currently the chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.


Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania, on September 30, 1928. He was the third of four children and the only son of Shlomo and Sarah Wiesel. Wiesel was encouraged by his father to learn modern Hebrew literature, and his mother encouraged him to study the sacred Jewish texts. His father instilled in him the ability to reason and from his mother, he learned faith. When he was fifteen, Wiesel and his family were taken to the concentration camps (harsh political prisons) at Birkenau and Auschwitz, Poland, where he remained until January 1945 when, along with thousands of other Jewish prisoners, he was moved to Buchenwald in a forced death march. Buchenwald was freed on April 11, 1945, by the U.S. Army, but neither Wiesel’s parents nor his younger sister survived. His two remaining sisters survived, and they were reunited after the war ended in 1945.

After the war Wiesel went to France where he completed secondary school, studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, and began working as a journalist for an Israeli newspaper. In 1956 he moved to New York City to cover the United Nations (UN; a multinational organization aimed at world peace) and became a U.S. citizen in 1963. He was the Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston (Massachusetts) University in the mid-1980s.


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