Magazine article The Christian Century

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Died at Age 87

Magazine article The Christian Century

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Died at Age 87

Article excerpt

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, died at age 87.

Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial and museum, confirmed July 2 that he died at his home in Manhattan.

As an author, playwright, professor, and speaker, Wiesel dedicated his life to the remembrance of the 6 million Jews and millions of gay and lesbian people, Roma, and others who perished in the Nazi death camps.

"To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time," he wrote in Night, which was first published in 1956 and translated into more than 30 languages.

In awarding the Peace Prize in 1986, the Nobel Committee praised Wiesel as a "messenger to mankind" and "one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression, and racism continue to characterize the world."

Wiesel used his moral authority to call attention to persecuted peoples the world over, including the victims of the war in former Yugoslavia, apartheid in South Africa, the Kurds, victims of famine in Africa, Nicaragua's Miskito Indians, Cambodian refugees, and Argentina's disappeared.

"Sometimes we must interfere: when human Uves are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant," Wiesel said. "Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must--at that moment--become the center of the universe."

Wiesel's own persecution at the hands of the Nazis began when he was 15, and he and his family were deported from their home in Sighet, Transylvania, to Auschwitz, where his mother and younger sister died. …

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