A "messenger to mankind," Elie Wiesel gives voice to the oppressed and works for peace and justice throughout the world. Born in 1928 in Sighet, Romania to a Hasidic Jewish family, Wiesel studied literature with his father and religion with his mother. In 1944, Nazi soldiers forced his family into a Ghetto in Sighet, then deported them to the death camp at Auschwitz. When American soldiers liberated the camp in April 1945, his entire family was dead, and Elie was moved to a French orphanage. Despite his horrific experiences, he retained his faith that came from his mother, saying "my only experience in the secular world was in Auchwitz." He studied at the Sorbonne and entered journalism before moving to the United States and publishing his first book in 1958. Night is a memoir of his holocaust experiences, profiling his struggles and the inhumanity he encountered. Since then, he has published more than 40 books, both fiction and nonfiction projecting a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity." He also speaks out worldwide against violence and persecution in all of their forms. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for his message of peace" in his writing and speaking. Now in his late 70s, he continues to write and speak around the world, warning the world of the horrors of persecution.
"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference."
"This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century -- solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others."
"Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible. Even those pages you remove somehow remain."
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