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Holocaust Survivor Elie Wiesel Dies at 87

  • VOA News

FILE - Elie Wiesel, pictured during an interview in December 2009, survived Nazi brutality to start a career as a journalist. He died Saturday at age 87.

FILE - Elie Wiesel, pictured during an interview in December 2009, survived Nazi brutality to start a career as a journalist. He died Saturday at age 87.

Elie Wiesel, who survived the hell of Nazi death camps to become a world-renowned author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has died at his New York home at 87.

Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial announced his death Saturday but gave no details.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mourned the loss of Wiesel by saying he "gave expression to the victory of the human spirit over cruelty and evil."

"In the darkness of the Holocaust, in which our sisters and brothers were killed, 6 million, Elie Wiesel served as a ray of light and example of humanity who believed in the goodness in people," Netanyahu said.

President Barack Obama called Wiesel a dear friend who was "one of the great moral voices of our time."

"He raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms," Obama said. "He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real the pledge of 'never again.' "

The Romanian-born Wiesel was shipped off to the notorious Auschwitz death camp in 1944 along with most of his immediate family.

His parents and a sister were killed, but Wiesel survived Nazi brutality to start a career as a journalist.

A French writer persuaded him to tell his stories about the Holocaust, and Wiesel's memoir, Night, was published in 1958. It has sold millions of copies in 30 languages and is required reading in many schools around the world and for anyone who wants to know about some of the darkest years of human history.

Wiesel wrote other Holocaust memoirs, along with works of fiction and nonfiction.

He won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize for speaking out against war, discrimination and suppression of human rights and for keeping memories of the Holocaust alive.

Wiesel was also awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honor Grand Cross, and he was knighted a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Wiesel as head of the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust, which led to the creation of the Holocaust Museum in Washington.

Wiesel's words are carved on the outside of the building, spelling out the purpose of a museum documenting inhumanity — "for the dead and the living, we must bear witness."

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