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Elie Wiesel Dies in New York Aged 87

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Auschwitz survivor and Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel has died in New York at the age of 87.

Elie Wiesel lived in Manhattan and had been a US citizen since the 1960s.

He became famous after writing about his experiences as a teenager in Nazi concentration camps, where he lost his mother, father and younger sister.

Elie Wiesel dedicated his life to ensuring the atrocities committed under the Nazis were never forgotten, and the president of the World Jewish Congress has called him “a beacon of light”.

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance centre announced his death on July 2.

President Barack Obama said Elie Wiesel was “one of the great moral voices of our time”.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Romania, in 1928. In 1940, Sighet was part of a region that was annexed by Hungary. Four years later the town’s entire Jewish population, including 15-year-old Elie Wiesel and his family, was deported to Auschwitz.

Elie Wiesel’s mother and one sister were killed in Nazi death chambers. His father died of starvation and dysentery in the Buchenwald camp. Two other sisters survived.

After the war, Elie Wiesel lived in a French orphanage and went on to become a journalist.

He wrote more than 60 books, starting with Night, a memoir based on his experiences in the death camps.

Night included the lines: “For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and for the living.

“To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”


Elie Wiesel’s use of the term Holocaust helped cement the word’s association with Nazi atrocities against the Jews.

In 1986, Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his role in speaking out against violence, repression and racism.

After Elie Wiesel’s death, the head of the World Jewish Congress said he was “undoubtedly one of the great Jewish teachers and thinkers of the past 100 years”.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Elie Wiesel “served as a ray of light and an example of humanity that believes in the goodness of man”.

Elie Wiesel leaves a wife, Marion, who also survived the Holocaust, as well as a son, Elisha.