Holocaust survivor, Nobel laureate, and author Elie Wiesel died in his home in New York City at the age of 87, The New York Times reported on Saturday. His death was confirmed by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial later that day. Wiesel was born in Romania. At 15, he was sent by the Nazis to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. The author, lecturer, and professor was an activist for human rights who wrote more than 60 books on various topics, but was best known for his work memorializing the Holocaust and its victims as a witness. Wiesel, who lost both parents and one sister to the Holocaust, was liberated from the Buchenwald death camp in 1945 at the age of 16.
Wiesel was the author of Night, a harrowing autobiographical account of his time spent in the death camps. The memoir detailed the horrors that he witnessed, as well as his feelings of guilt about survival and witnessing the death of his father. Since the book's publication, it has been translated into more than 30 languages, including an English translation published in 1960.
In his later life, Wiesel became an activist for human rights, speaking out in support for refugees and victims of famine, war, and genocide. He was the recipient of multiple awards in his lifetime for his activism and literary work, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. “I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices,” he said in his Nobel Prize speech. “I swore never to be silent whenever wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes, we must interfere.”