Wiesel, Elie

Wiesel, Elie, 1928–2016, American writer, writing in French, b. Sighet, Romania. In 1944 the Nazis imprisoned him and his family at Auschwitz, an extermination camp, where his mother and sister were killed, and then at Buchenwald, a concentration camp , where his father died; he alone survived. After the war, he studied at the Sorbonne. In the 1950s he was a correspondent for Israeli, American, and French newspapers. After living in France and Israel, he settled in the United States in 1956 and became a citizen in 1963.

Wiesel's dozens of novels, plays, retellings of biblical stories, and collections of Hasidic tales have focused on the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. The autobiographical novel Night (1958) recounts the horrors he witnessed as a death camp inmate; it and two subsequent novels about concentration camp survivors, Dawn (1960) and The Accident (1961), comprise the Night Trilogy. Later works include A Jew Today (1978), The Fifth Son (1985), and The Judges (2002). For his efforts on behalf of oppressed peoples, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

See his memoirs All Rivers Run to the Sea (1995) and And the Sea Is Never Full (1999); his Memoir in Two Voices (with F. Mitterrand, 1996); studies by R. M. Brown (1984) and M. Berenbaum (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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