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Author Information: Elie Wiesel

 
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"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky." Since the publication of this passage in Night, Elie Wiesel has devoted his life to ensuring that the world never forgets the horrors of the Holocaust, and to fostering the hope that they never happen again.

During a long recuperation from a car accident in New York City in 1956, Wiesel decided to make his home in the United States. His autobiographical novel Night, which appeared two years later was initially met with skepticism. "The Holocaust was not something people wanted to know about in those days," Wiesel later said in a Time magazine interview.

But eventually the book drew recognition and readers. Night remains one of the most widely read works on the Holocaust. It was followed by over 40 more books, including novels, essay collections and plays.

Wiesel has also worked to bring attention to the plight of oppressed people around the world. "When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant," he said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. "Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -- at that moment -- become the center of the universe."

Awards: Congressional Gold Medal of Achievement, 1985; Nobel Peace Prize, 1986; Ellis Island Medal of Honor, 1992

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