Tuesday July 12, 2016

From the archives: Elie Wiesel on his landmark memoir, Night

Writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel was an outspoken advocate for survivors and victims of the Holocaust. In his seminal memoir, Night, he wrote, "To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time."

Writer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel was an outspoken advocate for survivors and victims of the Holocaust. In his seminal memoir, Night, he wrote, "To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time." (Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Listen to Full Episode 41:21

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, died at the age of 87 on July 2, 2016. The outspoken activist, writer and playwright rose to prominence in the late 1950s when his bestselling memoir, Night, was published. The book is an account of Wiesel's time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald and has sold an estimated 10 million copies.

Wiesel helped set up the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1985 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a year later. He dedicated the award to survivors of Nazi brutality, saying they were "an example to humankind how not to succumb to despair." The Nobel Prize committee described him as a "messenger to mankind" and "one of the most important spiritual leaders and guides in an age when violence, repression and racism continue to characterize the world."

A writer of fiction as well as nonfiction, Wiesel published more than 50 books, many about the Holocaust. In January of 1997, he spoke to Eleanor Wachtel in a rare interview about his need to write about his experiences in the Second World War. You can listen to Wachtel's full interview with Wiesel above.

With files from Thomson Reuters.