Elie Wiesel has been called the most famous survivor of the Holocaust, and his memoir, Night, is a shocking account the atrocities that occurred during his imprisonment. However, that was only the beginning of his story. Wiesel went on to become a proponent of human rights across the world.
At the age of 15, Wiesel and his family were forcibly removed from their home in the ghettos of Sighet and taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. His mother, father, and youngest sister were killed, and Wiesel and his two other sisters were freed in 1945.
After the war, Wiesel studied journalism in France, and under the encouragement of his friend and colleague François Mauriac, began to write about his experiences in the camps. Night was published in 1960, and eventually became an acclaimed bestseller. He went on to write many more books.
Moving to the U.S. in 1955, and becoming a citizen in 1963, Wiesel became a revered international activist, orator, and figure of peace over the years. He spoke out against injustices perpetrated in an array of countries. In 1978, Wiesel was appointed chair of the President's Commission on the Holocaust by President Carter. He received a number of other awards, including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honor's Grand Croix. Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
Wiesel and his wife created the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity to "combat indifference, intolerance and injustice" throughout the world. He died on July 2, 2016 at the age of 87.