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Elie Wiesel, haunted by Auschwitz

The Story


Elie Wiesel was still a teenager when he was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945. Having lost his mother and father, and yet to be reunited with two sisters, he went to an orphanage in France, where he picked up the language that would stay with him. Fifty years later, Wiesel - whose experiences in Auschwitz became his 1960 memoir Night - still writes in French. In this 1997 conversation on CBC Radio's Writers and Company, Wiesel says he appreciates the rigour French imposes on his writing.

Medium: Radio
Program: Writers & Company
Broadcast Date: Jan. 19, 1997
Guest(s): Elie Wiesel
Host: Eleanor Wachtel
Duration: 41:21
This clip was edited for copyright reasons.
Photo: AP Photo/Peter Dejong

Did You know?


• Elie Wiesel was born in Transylvania in 1928 to an Orthodox Jewish family of Hungarian origin. They were sent to Auschwitz in 1944, and he and his father were moved to Buchenwald, where his father contracted dysentery and died after a beating by the guards.
• As of 2008, Night had sold some 10 million copies, a remarkable turnaround for a book that more than 15 publishers rejected in the 1950s. Night was not the first book to describe the Jewish experience during the Second World War - The Diary of Anne Frank came out in 1952 - but it was the first to describe the horrors of living in a concentration camp. "Where Anne Frank's book ends," Wiesel told the New York Times in 2008, "mine begins."


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