"Night" is a book by the author Elie Wiesel that was published in 1960. The book is essentially a memoir about Wiesel's time in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the second world war. However, some small details have been changed from real life, and the author uses the main character with a similar name to maintain an emotional distance from the narrative.The … [Read more...]
Elie Wiesel was born on September 30th, 1928 in Sighet, in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. Wiesel's parents, Sarah and Shlomo encouraged him to learn Hebrew and to study the Torah, two tenants of the Jewish religion. Wiesel had three sisters, two older and one younger.
The first fifteen years of Wiesel's life were typical for a Jewish boy in his country, as he was a student. However, in 1944, when Wiesel was only 15 the Nazi's occupied Hungary and the Holocaust was brought to his town. Sighet's entire Jewish population was forced into smaller and smaller ghettos until they were eventually brought to live in concentration camps. Upon arrival at the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz, Wiesel’s family was separated with his mother and his sisters in another area. Wiesel’s mother, Sarah and his younger sister, Tzipora were executed immediately upon arrival as they were deemed unfit to work.
Unaware of this. However, Wiesel and his father were brought to a labor camp named Buna. Wiesel was given the tattoo 'A-7713' as an identification of his prisoner number. Although he managed to survive the horrors of the concentration camps, Wiesel’s father died shortly before liberation by the American Army. After Wiesel had been freed from the camp, he was taken with 1,000 other orphan children to Ecouis, France where they were cared for in Orthodox homes.
After Wiesel had turned 18, he moved to Paris where he studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne Institute. The following year he began working as a journalist for Israeli and French newspapers. For the first 19 years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about what happened to him during the Holocaust. However, after he became friends with the French writer Francois Mauriac he began to reconsider. Wiesel began writing what would later become his multinational bestseller, 'Night' in the mid-1950s and the book was published in 1960.
Wiesel continued to work as a journalist and moved to the U.S in the 1950's. In 1969 he married an Austrian woman named Marion Erster Rose. Marion was responsible for translating many of his books. The two had one son named for Elie's father, Shlomo.
Wiesel wrote over 40 books in his lifetime, the majority of them being Holocaust-related and non-fiction. In 1986, Wiesel and Marion created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity which oversaw the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.
That same year, Wiesel was given the Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against violence, racism, and oppression. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. During his life, Wiesel served as a notable political activist, speaking out on crises like apartheid in South Africa, the Bosnian Genocide and the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
In 2009, Wiesel accompanied US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they toured the site of the former concentration camp, Buchenwald. On July 2nd, 2016, Wiesel passed away at the age of 87 in his home in Manhattan.