By Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel was born in the Jewish community of Sighet, Romania on September 30, 1928. The son of a grocery store owner, Wiesel learned modern Hebrew as well as Yiddish, German, Hungarian, and Romanian. In 1944 when the German Nazis were transporting Jews to the concentration camps in Poland, Wiesel, his parents, and his three sisters were removed from their homes.
Because his parent did not live long enough to be liberated at Auschwitz-Buchenwald , Wiesel was sent with other orphans to study religion in France. After several years of school, he became a journalist, translator and Hebrew teacher. It was not until ten years later that he was able to write about his experiences during the Holocaust. His memoirs became the book Night which has been translated into thirty languages and has sold over seven million copies.
Since the publishing of Night, Elie Wiesel has dedicated his life to making sure that the atrocities of the Holocaust are not forgotten. He has written over forty more books on the subject and speaks publicly whenever human rights are threatened around the world. In 1986 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and used the award to establish the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He has also been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal, and the Grand Croix of the French Legion of Honor.
President Jimmy Carter asked Elie Wiesel to head the President’s Commission on the Holocaust in 1978. That commission later suggested the creation of a national day of remembrance and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.