Elie Wiesel is an active spokesman for peace and human rights all over the world. He has worked on behalf of Soviet Jews and also the State of Israel, and has helped the relatives of “the Disappeared” in Argentina. He has spoken out for victims in Rwanda and Ethiopia, for the Cambodian Boat People, against apartheid in South Africa, and in support of peace and human rights in Central America and Kosovo.
He was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz, where his mother and younger sister perished. Wiesel and his father were later taken to Buchenwald, where his father died before the camp was liberated in 1945. He subsequently wrote Night, a deeply moving account of his experience during the Holocaust. Since its publication in 1956 in Yiddish and in 1958 in French, Night has been translated into over thirty languages. He has written more than fifty books and is the recipient of numerous literary awards as well as honorary degrees from more than one hundred and twenty colleges and universities in America, Europe and Israel. His latest novel, Un désir fou de danser, published in France in 2006, is soon to be published in English by Knopf.
Wiesel's work has earned him the United States Congressional Gold Medal (1985) and the Medal of Liberty Award (1986); the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1992); the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor (2001); an honorary Knighthood of the British Empire awarded by Her Majesty, the Queen (2006); and, in 1986, the Nobel Peace Prize. He was selected for inclusion as one of fifty great Americans in the 50th anniversary edition of Who’s Who in America.
Elie Wiesel has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University since 1976.