Elie Wiesel

Activist Type
Human Rights

Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born Jewish author and professor who was sent, along with his family, to the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps at the age of 15. Wiesel and two of his three sisters survived the camps, while his parents and youngest sibling did not. Post-war, Elie began his writing career in France before emigrating to the United States, where he became a citizen. The author of 57 books, Wiesel’s most famous work was Night which drew on his harrowing experiences in the Nazi death camps. Elie became a prominent political and humanitarian activist, devoting himself to causes worldwide, including fighting apartheid in South Africa and calling attention to the crisis in Sudan. He served as a founding board member of the Human Rights Foundation and helped to establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Among countless awards recognizing his human rights work, Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

Artwork by
Jessica Barbon

In a small city called Sapanta, very close to Elie’s hometown, is a truth-telling graveyard called the Merry Cemetery. It consists of hand painted tombstones that reveal honest stories of the people buried there, whether good or bad. Although this is not where Elie was buried, the embellished borders and bright colors reflect the style typically seen in Romanian art and serve as a fitting frame to honor Elie’s memory.


Romania Flag
May 10, 1877
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